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31 FW, multinational allies conclude INIOCHOS 21

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, meet with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. INIOCHOS 21 is an annual exercise in Greece which provides participants the opportunity to develop capabilities in planning and conducting complex air operations in a multinational joint forces environment. Along with Greek and U.S. participants, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Slovenia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates are also supporting the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, meet with Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister of Greece during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. INIOCHOS 21 is an annual exercise in Greece which provides participants the opportunity to develop capabilities in planning and conducting complex air operations in a multinational joint forces environment. Along with Greek and U.S. participants, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Slovenia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates are also supporting the exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaks to key defense leaders in the region during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. Along with Greek and U.S. participants, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Slovenia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates are also supporting the exercise. The interoperability during this exercise allows various allies the opportunity to not only work together, but also the ability to learn from each other. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaks to key defense leaders in the region during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. Along with Greek and U.S. participants, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Slovenia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates are also supporting the exercise. The interoperability during this exercise allows various allies the opportunity to not only work together, but also the ability to learn from each other. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks with Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. The exercise aims to enhance combat readiness and fighting capability, while providing participants the opportunity to develop capabilities planning and conduct complex air operations in a multinational, joint force environment. Additional U.S. forces participating include KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers assigned to the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron, Vilseck, Germany, and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft assigned to the 731st Expeditionary Attack Squadron, flying out of Campia Turzii, Romania. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, speaks with Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. The exercise aims to enhance combat readiness and fighting capability, while providing participants the opportunity to develop capabilities planning and conduct complex air operations in a multinational, joint force environment. Additional U.S. forces participating include KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers assigned to the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron, Vilseck, Germany, and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft assigned to the 731st Expeditionary Attack Squadron, flying out of Campia Turzii, Romania. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, left, speaks with Hellenic Air Force Gen. Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Hellenic National Defense General Staff, center, and Hellenic Air Force Lt. Gen. George Blioumis, Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, right, during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. INIOCHOS 21 is an annual exercise in Greece which provides participants the opportunity to develop capabilities in planning and conducting complex air operations in a multinational joint forces environment. The exercise provides advanced and realistic aircrew training to strengthen interoperability of allied and partner air forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, left, speaks with Hellenic Air Force Gen. Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Hellenic National Defense General Staff, center, and Hellenic Air Force Lt. Gen. George Blioumis, Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, right, during INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 20, 2021. INIOCHOS 21 is an annual exercise in Greece which provides participants the opportunity to develop capabilities in planning and conducting complex air operations in a multinational joint forces environment. The exercise provides advanced and realistic aircrew training to strengthen interoperability of allied and partner air forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Valerie Halbert)

A U.S. Air Force pilot from the 510 Fighter Squadron (FS) poses with the ‘Buzzards’ hand signal at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 510th FS operated out of Andravida while participating in INIOCHOS 21, an annual exercise designed to provide advanced and realistic aircrew training to strengthen interoperability of allied and partner air forces during joint operations and air defenses to maintain joint readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

A U.S. Air Force pilot from the 510 Fighter Squadron (FS) poses with the ‘Buzzards’ hand signal at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 510th FS operated out of Andravida while participating in INIOCHOS 21, an annual exercise designed to provide advanced and realistic aircrew training to strengthen interoperability of allied and partner air forces during joint operations and air defenses to maintain joint readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Aircraft from several countries participating in INIOCHOS 21 perform an elephant walk at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 18, 2021. The 510th Fighter Squadron participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led, large force flying exercise. Participation in INIOCHOS 21 allowed U.S. Air Force pilots the opportunity to develop and improve air readiness and interoperability with allied and partner air forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Aircraft from several countries participating in INIOCHOS 21 perform an elephant walk at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 18, 2021. The 510th Fighter Squadron participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led, large force flying exercise. Participation in INIOCHOS 21 allowed U.S. Air Force pilots the opportunity to develop and improve air readiness and interoperability with allied and partner air forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Aircraft from several countries participating in INIOCHOS 21 line up prior to an elephant walk at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 18, 2021. Elephant walks are a show of force, demonstrating the might and power of the U.S. Air Force and its allies. The 510th Fighter Squadron participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led exercise designed to enhance the interoperability and skills of allied and partner air forces in the accomplishment of joint operations and air defenses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Aircraft from several countries participating in INIOCHOS 21 line up prior to an elephant walk at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 18, 2021. Elephant walks are a show of force, demonstrating the might and power of the U.S. Air Force and its allies. The 510th Fighter Squadron participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led exercise designed to enhance the interoperability and skills of allied and partner air forces in the accomplishment of joint operations and air defenses. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Senior Airman Hayley Peters, 31st Munitions Squadron (MUNS) conventional munitions crew chief unhooks an inert bomb from a bomb lift at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 31st MUNS maintains and supports a combat ready stockpile, people, and equipment to support U.S. and NATO taskings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Senior Airman Hayley Peters, 31st Munitions Squadron (MUNS) conventional munitions crew chief unhooks an inert bomb from a bomb lift at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 31st MUNS maintains and supports a combat ready stockpile, people, and equipment to support U.S. and NATO taskings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

U.S. Airmen with the 31st Munitions Squadron (MUNS) hook an inert bomb onto a bomb lift at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 31st MUNS, along with other units from the 31st Fighter Wing, participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led, joint force exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

U.S. Airmen with the 31st Munitions Squadron (MUNS) hook an inert bomb onto a bomb lift at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 31st MUNS, along with other units from the 31st Fighter Wing, participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led, joint force exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

Senior Airman Sydney Williams, 31st Munitions Squadron (MUNS) line delivery crew chief, secures an inert bomb onto a trailer at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 31st MUNS, along with other units from the 31st Fighter Wing, participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led, joint force exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)
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Senior Airman Sydney Williams, 31st Munitions Squadron (MUNS) line delivery crew chief, secures an inert bomb onto a trailer at Andravida Air Base, Greece, April 13, 2021. The 31st MUNS, along with other units from the 31st Fighter Wing, participated in INIOCHOS 21, a Hellenic air force-led, joint force exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Thomas S. Keisler IV)

ANDRAVIDA AIR BASE, Greece --

U.S. Airmen and F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy, participated in exercise INIOCHOS 21 at Andravida Air Base, Greece, from April 12-22, 2021.

 

The exercise was a Hellenic air force-sponsored operational and tactical level field training exercise, hosted by the Hellenic Air Tactics Center at Greece’s fighter weapons school. The aim was to enhance combat readiness and fighting capability, while providing participants the opportunity to develop capabilities planning and conduct complex air operations in a multinational, joint force environment.

 

Along with Greek and U.S. participants, Canada, Cyprus, Israel, Slovenia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates also supported INIOCHOS 21.

 

During the exercise the 510th Fighter Squadron conducted a multitude of joint operations and air defense training to include air-to-ground strike missions, defensive counter-air and close air support. The 510th FS dropped approximately 170 inert munitions, fired 8300 training rounds on Greek live-fire ranges, and completed more than 200 sorties.

 

On the ground, five tactical air control party Airmen assigned to the 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron, Vilseck, Germany, completed 14 close air support missions and worked with aircraft from the U.S., France, Greece and Cyprus. These missions culminated with U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ryne Moody, 2nd ASOS TACP specialist, providing CAS for two Hellenic air force F-4s allowing for a Cyprus search and rescue helicopter to evacuate a Greek search and rescue team.

 

Additional U.S. forces participating included KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, England.

 

INIOCHOS 21 will continue to improve U.S. and participating nation interoperability, allowing participants to demonstrate their own unique roles in contributing to regional and global security.

 

During the exercise, U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, and Geoffrey Pyatt, U.S. Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic, visited Andravida Air Base to meet with Prime Minister of Greece Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Hellenic air force leadership, and key defense leaders in the region.

 

Hellenic air force leadership in attendance included Gen. Konstantinos Floros, Chief of Hellenic National Defense General Staff, Lt. Gen. George Blioumis, Chief of Hellenic Air Force General Staff, and Col. Nikolaos Kokonis, Hellenic Air Tactics Center commander.

 

During their remarks, the key defense leaders spoke of the success of the exercise and thanked all the countries involved for their participation and commitment to the NATO alliance.

 

“INIOCHOS is an important opportunity for our Airmen to train alongside and learn from our Greek allies as well as the other exercise participants,” said Harrigian. “It both improves the relationships that underpin our military alliance and creates opportunities to refine critical skills that enhance our interoperability.”

 

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jason Bailey, 31st FW commander, also visited Andravida during the exercise to interact with Airmen on the ground and flew an F-16 alongside counterparts from Greece, France, Cyprus, and Israel.

 

The U.S. shares a common interest in maintaining a Europe that is safe, secure and prosperous. Despite the continued threat of COVID-19, USAFE is committed to the mission in all domains and the readiness of our allies and partners.

 

The 31st FW took proactive steps to ensure all personnel followed force health protection, DoD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and host nation guidance to avoid contracting and spreading respiratory illness like the flu or COVID-19.

 

Personnel were tested for COVID-19 before leaving Aviano and before returning to Aviano. Random tests were also conducted throughout the exercise and all COVID-19 test results were negative.

 

Funds from the European Deterrence Initiative were used to fund a portion of INIOCHOS 21. These funds enable the U.S to enhance the U.S. deterrence posture, increase the readiness and responsiveness of U.S. forces in Europe, support the collective defense and security of NATO allies, and bolster the security and capacity of U.S. partners.