AFRC, 307th Bomb Wing strengthen ties in Europe

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  • By 307th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
  • 307th Bomb Wing

Air Force Reserve Command leadership and members of the 307th Bomb Wing took part in NATO Days activities in the Czech Republic from Sept. 14-20.

NATO Days, an annual airshow highlighting member states' military capabilities, draws patrons from around the globe.

Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander, accepted the Czech and Slovak Transatlantic Award during the NATO Days Gala Dinner held Friday, Sept. 17.  Event organizers cited Scobee's efforts to promote AFRC's international role and his cooperation with the Czech Republic and Slovakia as the reasons for the award.

"Our friendship with the Czech Republic and Slovakia has created a stronger NATO Alliance and increased our interoperability," said Scobee during his acceptance speech.  

He also took part in other events at the airshow, visiting with Reserve Citizen Airmen and taking part in a cake-cutting ceremony for the U.S. Air Force's 74th birthday.

Members of the 307th BW stayed busy as well, taking part in several community engagements. They held question and answer sessions at several schools and other public venues and participated in the airshow.

They also joined with local civic leaders in a memorial ceremony for members of Mission 263, an ill-fated U.S. combat effort over Czechoslovakia during World War II.  Nazi fighters shot down nine B-17's from the 2nd Bomb Group, now the 2nd Bomb Wing, during the air battle. Unit losses included 57 captured and 40 killed.  

Col. Steven Kirkpatrick, 307th Bomb Wing commander, thanked the people of the Czech Republic for their role in helping some of the downed aircrew evade capture by Nazi search teams.

"The courage shown by the local people planted the seeds of friendship that still endures," he said. "We are continually grateful for the ongoing efforts of the Czech people to honor the memories of those who died."

This year marks the 20th Anniversary of NATO Days. The 307th Bomb Wing has participated for more than a decade, only missing last year due to COVID-19 travel restrictions in Europe.