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Thracian Star 21; Bulgarian and U.S. Air Force strengthen interoperability

A weapons load crew member assigned to the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepares to load a munition onto a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during the Bulgarian air force-led  exercise Thracian Star 21 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 12, 2021. Exercises such as Thracian Star 21 provide both U.S. Airmen and Bulgarian forces an opportunity to extend joint warfighting capability through operational and tactical training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A weapons load crew member assigned to the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepares to load a munition onto a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during the Bulgarian air force-led exercise Thracian Star 21 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 12, 2021. Exercises such as Thracian Star 21 provide both U.S. Airmen and Bulgarian forces an opportunity to extend joint warfighting capability through operational and tactical training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief assigned to the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit performs a pre-flight inspection on a U.S. Air Force F-16 intake at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 13, 2021. Eight F-16s assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron are participating in Thracian Star 21, a Bulgarian air force-led exercise aiming to maximize interoperability, combat effectiveness and survival awareness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief assigned to the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit performs a pre-flight inspection on a U.S. Air Force F-16 intake at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 13, 2021. Eight F-16s assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron are participating in Thracian Star 21, a Bulgarian air force-led exercise aiming to maximize interoperability, combat effectiveness and survival awareness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A Bulgarian air force MiG-29 prepares to taxi onto the flight line at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, July 13, 2021. The Bulgarian air force has 80 aircraft and 6,500 active duty personnel. By 2027, Bulgaria seeks to have an active NATO interoperable multirole fighter squadron that participates in multinational fighter exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A Bulgarian air force MiG-29 prepares to taxi onto the flight line at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, July 13, 2021. The Bulgarian air force has 80 aircraft and 6,500 active duty personnel. By 2027, Bulgaria seeks to have an active NATO interoperable multirole fighter squadron that participates in multinational fighter exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A Bulgarian air force MiG-29 prepares to taxi onto the flight line at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, July 13, 2021. The Bulgarian air force has 80 aircraft and 6,500 active duty personnel. By 2027, Bulgaria seeks to have an active NATO interoperable multirole fighter squadron that participates in multinational fighter exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A Bulgarian air force MiG-29 prepares to taxi onto the flight line at Graf Ignatievo, Bulgaria, July 13, 2021. The Bulgarian air force has 80 aircraft and 6,500 active duty personnel. By 2027, Bulgaria seeks to have an active NATO interoperable multirole fighter squadron that participates in multinational fighter exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) assigned to Detachment 1, 4th Combat Training Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, directs the action of U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron at the Graf Ignatievo range, Bulgaria, July 14, 2021. A JTAC is a qualified service member who directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A joint terminal attack controller (JTAC) assigned to Detachment 1, 4th Combat Training Squadron, Ramstein Air Base, Germany, directs the action of U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron at the Graf Ignatievo range, Bulgaria, July 14, 2021. A JTAC is a qualified service member who directs the action of combat aircraft engaged in close air support and other offensive air operations from a forward position. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron fires ammunition at a range during Bulgarian air force-led Thracian Star 21 at a Graf Ignatievo Air Base range, July 14, 2021. Training missions during Thracian Star 21 include offensive counter air and defensive counter air, protection of high value assets, and close air support in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

An F-16 Fighting Falcon assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron fires ammunition at a range during Bulgarian air force-led Thracian Star 21 at a Graf Ignatievo Air Base range, July 14, 2021. Training missions during Thracian Star 21 include offensive counter air and defensive counter air, protection of high value assets, and close air support in a contested environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron sits in the cockpit of a U.S. Air Force F-16 during  Thracian Star 21 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 12, 2021. Thracian Star 21 enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with allies and partner militaries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot assigned to the 555th Fighter Squadron sits in the cockpit of a U.S. Air Force F-16 during Thracian Star 21 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 12, 2021. Thracian Star 21 enhances professional relationships and improves overall coordination with allies and partner militaries. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

GRAF IGNATIEVO AIR BASE, Bulgaria -- A weapons load crew member assigned to the 555th Aircraft Maintenance Unit prepares to load a munition onto a U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon during the Bulgarian air force-led exercise Thracian Star 21 at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria, July 12, 2021. Exercises such as Thracian Star 21 provide both U.S. Airmen and Bulgarian forces an opportunity to extend joint warfighting capability through operational and tactical training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)