Tennessee National Guard to Conduct International Exercise Less than 500 Miles from Ukraine, in Bulgaria

The Tennessee Department of Military announced that the state’s Army and Air National Guard will be conducting an international joint readiness exercise, named Thracian Sentry 2023, throughout the nation of Bulgaria in June.

From June 12th-30th, “more than 170 military personnel from the Bulgarian Armed Forces, the Hellenic Air Force in Greece, and the Tennessee Army and Air National Guard will focus on developing and improving skills which include combat medical care, aircraft fire rescue, joint operations, logistics and sustainment, aeromedical evacuation, and weapons training,” the Tennessee Department of Military said in a Thursday statement.

The exercise will also provide Tennessee service members with an opportunity to train combat-ready Soldiers and Airmen alongside their Bulgarian counterparts, the department noted.

One of the more challenging aspects of the exercise will be utilizing the U.S. Air Force’s new doctrine, Agile Combat Employment (ACE), the department added. The new approach is being implemented to reshape how the Air Force prepares, positions, and projects its capabilities around the world, which will be practiced by Tennessee and Bulgaria during the joint exercise in June.

Through the Department of Defense’s State Partnership Program, the Bulgarian Armed Forces and the Tennessee National Guard have worked together since 1993. Since the partnership began, more than 550 training events have been conducted. In 2004, Bulgaria joined NATO, and in 2007, it joined the European Union.

“For the past 30 years, Tennessee and Bulgaria have worked together to grow and develop together across a wide variety of military capabilities. 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,” Tennessee’s Assistant Adjutant General-Air Col. Jason Glass said in a statement.

Bulgaria – which shares international borders with Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Turkey – is located approximately 477 miles south from Ukraine’s nearest border.

Nearly 1.1 million Ukrainian refugees have entered Bulgaria – some staying and others passing through – since the nation’s war with Russia began according to official data cited by UNICEF from the State Agency for Refugees and Chief Directorate Border Police.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Tennessee National Guard” by Tennessee National Guard.


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