Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. Kirsten Brandes
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
PLOVDIV, Bulgaria — Three C-130J Super Hercules aircraft and more than 90 personnel deployed to Plovdiv, Bulgaria, from Ramstein Air Base for Thracian Fall returned home Oct. 4.
During the 12-day flying training deployment, the 37th Airlift Squadron flew 42 sorties and conducted 121 personnel drops for Bulgaria’s 68th Special Forces Brigade. Aircrew executed 19 low-cost, low-altitude airdrops, upgrading five pilots on the LCLA capability, and dropped 36.3 tons of heavy equipment.
In total, the 37th AS and participating units were able to accomplish over 1,200 training events.
U.S. Air Force Capt. Korie Roberts, Thracian Fall 19 mission commander, contributes the success of the exercise to the efforts and professionalism of the Airmen around her.
“I’m surrounded by 90 people who are experts at getting the job done,” Roberts said. “From the guys controlling the landing zone, to aerial delivery loading the aircraft, to maintenance keeping our planes flying… this would not have been possible without all of their hard work. They make my job easier.”
Bulgarian Brig. Gen. Yavor Mateev, commander of the 68th Special Forces Brigade, highlighted the importance of partnership building exercises like Thracian Fall.
“We always make sure that during these two weeks we give the opportunity to our friends from the United States to see something from Bulgaria,” Mateev said. “To see something from our culture, from our history, to sit and celebrate together… it’s very important — not only for the success of the training, but for the camaraderie and friendship we have.”