Exercise Clear Sky 18 wraps up in Ukraine

The U.S. Airmen trained side-by-side with their Ukrainian counterparts throughout the exercise, conducting formation and low-level aviation, air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery during Clear Sky 2018 exercise.

Exercise Clear Sky 2018 lasted from October 10 through 19, 2018, and was focused on improving interoperability between the U.S. and Ukraine, which focused on multinational and coalition operations.

F-15C Eagles from the 144th Fighter Wing, Fresno Air National Guard Base, Calif., have participated in Clear Sky 2018, a joint and multinational exercise that also were involved personnel from nine nations, including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Additionally, a C-130J Super Hercules from the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Islands Air National Guard Station, Calif., also has arrived in Ukraine, to participate in the exercise.

The training focused on air sovereignty, air interdiction, air-to-ground integration, air mobility operations, aeromedical evacuation, cyber defense, and personnel recovery.

This exercise aims to enhance regional capabilities to secure air sovereignty and promote peace and security through cooperation, collaboration and interoperability with NATO partners and other allies in the region.

But this year exercise overshadowed by the fact that Lt. Col. Seth “Jethro” Nehring, assigned to the 194th Fighter Squadron, was killed with his Ukrainian counterpart in a Su-27UB fighter jet crash in west-central Ukraine field.

The accident occurred at around 5:00 PM local time on Oct. 16, 2018, near the village of Ulaniv, which is situated approximately 185 miles southwest of Ukranian capital Kyiv.

He was serving as the Operations Officer in the Joint Operations Center, meaning he was the liaison between the exercise director, Maj. Gen. Garrison and all flying operations. He was handpicked for this position due to his operational experience and long history with our unit.

Jethro has been a member of the 144th family for over 20 years. He began his career here as an enlisted crew chief before being selected for a pilot slot and flew the F-16 Viper for over 15 years and converted to the F-15 Eagle.

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