Forty-five Delaware Air National Guard Airmen return home today after leading six ANG wings to deliver air power in Eastern European exercise

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Forty-five Airmen from the 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard will return home to the New Castle ANG Base aboard two C-130H aircraft mid-day today after participating in the week-long Exercise Steadfast Javelin II, which is a portion of the two-week long Exercise Saber Junction 2014.

Forty Airmen left Delaware on Aug. 30 aboard two aircraft after a small advance team left a few days earlier.

Exercise Sabre Junction 2014 is a large-scale, joint, multinational annual military exercise, involving hundreds of aircraft and vehicles and more than 5,800 personnel from 17 different nations including the U.S., making it one of the most complex training exercises conducted in Europe. It is part of USEUCOM's Joint Training and Exercise Program designed to enhance joint combined interoperability with allied and partner nations.

Exercise Steadfast Javelin II had participation from nine different nations with more than 2,000 personnel, and took place across Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland.

Using C-130 and C-17 aircraft, the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard supported the exercise by providing personnel air drop and air landings in support of airfield seizure, and reinforcing the U.S. commitment to the peace and security of Europe and to NATO Article V for mutual defense.

The 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware ANG is the lead ANG unit. The ANG provided 10 C-130s for personnel airdrops from the 123rd AW (Kentucky), 139th AW (Missouri), 143rd AW (Rhode Island), 146th AW (California), 166th AW (Delaware), and 182nd AW (Illinois).

Each ANG wing sent two or three air crews and most brought additional maintenance personnel to support their operations. In one mission a nine-ship formation of C-130s executed an air drop of about 460 paratroopers.

"The ANG is playing a pivotal part in Steadfast Javelin II," said Brig. Gen. James C. Witham, U.S. ANG deputy director. "Reserve units provide nearly 60 percent of tactical air support throughout the globe and we need the ANG to conduct such large-scale exercises like this."

"The ANG is able to bring unique capabilities to NATO-led exercises like this one," said Witham. "Not only are we able to provide the element of experience with our extremely capable and experienced aircrew, we're able to help strengthen relationships with many of the NATO countries by building on the enduring friendships we've been able to maintain through our State Partnership Program."

Steadfast Javelin II is an ideal training scenario, said Col. Robert Culcasi, 166th Operations Group commander for the Delaware ANG and "air boss" for all ANG assets participating in this exercise.

"Exercises like this help demonstrate our ability to work as a joint team and move [personnel] to project power anywhere in the area of operation, demonstrating mission capabilities," said Culcasi.

C-130H aircrew from Delaware's 142nd Airlift Squadron transported U.S. and Royal Canadian Army paratroopers for an airfield seizure operation at Lielvarde Air Base, Latvia on September 5 during the exercise.

By participating in Saber Junction 14, we are contributing to a safe and stable future for the region while our Airmen gain important training and reinforce the U.S. commitment to maintaining a persistent presence in Europe.

Find exercise details and 12 exercise photos here, to include a photo of Delaware ANG member Col. Rob Culcasi, "air boss" for the ANG exercise role:

The Delaware Air National Guard was founded in 1946, and has grown to nearly 1,200 members. The mission of the 166th Airlift Wing is to provide tactical airlift and airdrop of troops, cargo and passengers using C-130 aircraft, plus aeromedical evacuation, civil engineer and network warfare functions. Our ready, relevant, and reliable Airmen are highly trained and motivated to aid the state and nation.

News media are invited to attend. Please call ahead to confirm. We advise media to arrive no later than 11:30 a.m. to cover the returns.

This release is in the public domain, and any part may be used as written.

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