RAF MILDENHALL, UK (1LT Chris Sullivan) – Nov. 6 marked the end of Trident Juncture 2015, and with it, the return of more than 100 Airmen and six aircraft from the 352nd Special Operations Wing.
Trident Juncture was the largest NATO Exercise conducted for 20 years and involved approximately 36,000 troops from more than 30 nations, to include NATO allies and partners.
“Exercises like this show that NATO stands strong. Trident Juncture shows that NATO’s capabilities are real and ready,” said Jens Stoltenberg, NATO secretary general.
The goals of this exercise were wide and far-reaching, but the common themes centered on the capability of the NATO Response Force and its ability to conduct joint, combined operations across the realms of conventional, unconventional and hybrid warfare.
Trident Juncture tested the NRF’s air, sea, land and Special Forces capabilities, to ensure they are adaptable to support NATO obligations and to safeguard the Alliance’s interests.
At the same time, it enabled the U.S. to demonstrate its continued commitment to our NATO allies and partners and to show our dedications to support peace and stability in Europe.
More than 5,000 U.S. service members participated in the exercise, which was broken into two parts. The Command Post exercise, from Oct. 3 to 21, involved testing chains of command and systems in preparation for the air, ground and sea live exercise, which ran from Oct. 21 to Nov. 6.
Throughout each portion, Special Operations Airmen were spread throughout Spain, Portugal, Germany, Norway and Italy performing duties ranging from planning, air and ground operations and various support roles.
“Our Airmen are highly trained and capable,” said Col. William Holt II, 352nd SOW commander. “[This exercise] gave us a chance to work alongside our international partners and prove it.”
Trident Juncture officially certified Joint Force Command Brunssum to lead the NATO Response Force, while also certifying U.S. Special Operations Command as the Special Operations Component Command for the NRF, if activated, throughout 2016.