The Flying Tigers have landed in Estonia and the situation is well in hand.

Twelve A-10s from the 74th Fighter Squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, arrived Monday at Amari Air Base as part of an ongoing series of theater security packages rotating through Europe.

Over the next six months, the squadron will conduct training and participate in several military exercises with NATO allies and European partners, according to a 23rd Wing news release.

"This is a great opportunity for our pilots, maintainers and support airmen," squadron commander Lt. Col. Bryan France said in the news release. "Both the United States Air Force and the Estonian Air Force will gain tremendous benefits. It's really a synergistic relationship that we gain when we are able to operate out of an airfield in a foreign country with our allies. We will be able to brief, execute, debrief together and learn those lessons and turn around and reapply them the next day."

The A-10 is loved by ground-pounders for it is often used in "danger close" strafing runs to keep enemy forces from overrunning U.S. troops.

Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., called the A-10 "perfectly suited" for the training mission in Europe.

"It was built originally for conventional close-air support against the Soviet Union and brings unique anti-armor capabilities as well as unmatched lethality, maneuverability and loiter time," McSally said in a statement to Air Force Times.

McSally is a retired Air Force colonel and former A-10 squadron commander who has 325 combat hours in the A-10 in Iraq and Afghanistan. She has been an outspoken critic of the Air Force's attempts to retire the A-10 in order to meet budget caps imposed by Congress.

"The continued deployments of A-10s in the region just reveals how shortsighted the decision to close the only A-10 squadron in Europe was two years ago," said McSally, whose congressional district includes Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. "I've been critical of this decision, and clearly we're seeing a need for these aircraft in supporting our allies and security in Europe now."

The deployment to Estonia comes as the U.S. is trying to reassure Eastern European members of NATO that it will defend them. Last year, Russia annexed Ukraine and then invaded Eeastern Ukraine.

Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe, told Air Force Times recently that he is concerned about Russia.

"We have a condition where one country has breached another country's borders by force," Gorenc said in an Aug. 21 interview. "That hasn't happened in a long time and the fact that it has re-emerged as a tactic by one country to intimidate another country is cause for alarm."

The 74th Fighter Squadron's history dates back to World War II, when it was part of the China Air Task Force, led by Army Brig. Gen. Claire Chennault. The task force, which later became 14th Air Force, inherited the name "Flying Tigers" from its predecessor, the American Volunteer Group.

"There is some friendly rivalry between the original Flying Tigers and the Flying Tigers of the Fourteenth Air Force about who has 'bragging rights' to the name," according to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing's website. "Generally, however, anyone assigned to China under the command of General Chennault (in the American Volunteer Group, the China Air Task Force, or the 14th Air Force) is called a 'Flying Tiger' in English."

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