Tennessee Airmen and Bulgarian Air Force work together on airfield equipment

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

Airmen from the 134th Air Refueling Wing assisted members of the Bulgarian Air Force as they conducted vehicle maintenance at Graf Air Base, Bulgaria on June 20, 2023. The routine servicing of equipment allows both militaries to feel confident in the performance of their machines.

The Tennessee National Guard is in Bulgaria as part of Thracian Sentry 23, a joint exercise between the American, Bulgarian and Greek armed forces. This specific project centered on a sweeping machine that helps remove various sizes of debris from the flight line.

“This project is going to be a key piece in allowing us to get through training here,” said Chief Master Sgt. James M. Borst. “Being able to work here together with the Bulgarians has been a pleasure and completing this project is really going to make a difference.”

As with any training or exercise, ensuring the safety and capability of equipment is paramount to any armed force. For these NATO partners, working alongside each other improved the speed of the project immensely allowing for aircraft to land safely without issue.

“It’s a good experience for us as well,” said Bulgarian Air Force Private 3rd Class Angel Hadzheiu. “ This makes our airfield better and allows us to do so much more.”

Thracian Sentry 23 highlights the 30-year long partnership between the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense and the Tennessee National Guard and commemorates many years of military cooperation while also allowing these NATO partners to improve their overall readiness.