SOFIA, Bulgaria – Approximately 70 Soldiers and Airmen from the Tennessee National Guard landed in Bulgaria June 11 to begin the international joint readiness exercise Thracian Sentry 2023.
More than 170 military personnel from the Bulgarian Armed Forces, the Hellenic Air Force in Greece, and the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard have partnered to develop and improve skills that include combat medical care, aircraft fire rescue, joint operations, logistics and sustainment, aeromedical evacuation and weapons training.
Thracian Sentry 2023 highlights the 30-year State Partnership Program relationship between the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense and the Tennessee National Guard and commemorates many years of military cooperation. This exercise also allows Tennesseans to improve their readiness alongside their Bulgarian counterparts and to train combat-ready Soldiers and Airmen.
“For three decades, Tennessee and Bulgaria have worked to grow and develop together across a wide variety of military capabilities,” said Col. Jason Glass, Tennessee’s assistant adjutant general-air. “This year’s Thracian Sentry 23 exercise will display a level of advanced security cooperation and partnership that will further strengthen the regional stability across Southeast Europe and the Black Sea.”
One of the more complex elements of the exercise is the use of the U.S. Air Force’s new doctrine, Agile Combat Employment.
“ACE shifts operations from centralized physical infrastructures to a network of smaller, dispersed locations that can complicate adversary planning and provide more options for joint force commanders,” according to the Air Force.
This new way of operating will increase the way commanders can attack adversary targets by coming from multiple locations and directions while better protecting U.S. and allied forces.
ACE will also employ and Thracian Sentry 23 will help develop the concept of multicapable Airmen. The goal is to have Airmen trained in expeditionary skills that might fall outside their main area of expertise, increasing flexibility.
“Tennessee and Bulgaria are ready to employ this new doctrine through teamwork that has developed over many years of friendship and cooperation,” said Glass. “There is nothing we can’t accomplish together.”
The name Thracian Sentry comes from the term Thrace, used by the ancient Greeks to describe the tribes and inhabitants of Southeast Europe that has evolved into what is Bulgaria and some surrounding nations.