134th ARW Firefighters train with Bulgarian Air Force

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Brandon Keys
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing

Airmen from the 134th Air Refueling Wing out of Knoxville, Tennessee, recently trained with Bulgarian firefighters at Bezmer Air Base, Bulgaria. The training centered on emergency response tactics to various aircraft and the overall flight line.

These Tennessee Airmen are in Bulgaria as part of Thracian Sentry 23, a joint exercise between the American, Bulgarian and Greek armed forces. For Tennessee firefighters and their Bulgarian counterparts, training regularly at the highest level is nothing new, but the lessons learned working together will only make them stronger in the future.

“NATO has a very defined standard when it comes to a response to aircraft emergencies,” said Tech Sergeant Adam West. “What we’ve done is taken a little bit of what they do and a little bit of what they’ve done and we’ve bridged that together between one cohesive team.”

After testing preventative equipment and discussing fire mitigation strategies, the two partners gathered their gear and quickly delivered water effectively and efficiently to their targets. Collaborating in this fashion was only made possible by both nations dedication to the best practices and procedures to tackle common obstacles.

“The opportunity to train with our allies in this environment was really a great experience,” said Master Sgt. Ryan Boyd. “Training with them allowed us to face challenges together and that helps so much when you’re responding to any emergency.

The Tennessee National Guard is in Bulgaria as part of Thracian Sentry 23, highlighting the 30-year long partnership between the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense and the Tennessee National Guard. This training commemorates many years of military cooperation while also allowing these NATO partners to improve their overall readiness.