Soldiers of the U.S. Army 3rd squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment as the troops of the "Dragoon Ride" military exercise arrive at their home base at Rose Barracks in Vilseck April 1, 2015. REUTERS/Michael Dalder
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Russia is so close that the F-16 fighter pilots can see it on the horizon as they swoop down over a training range in Estonia in the biggest ever show of U.S. air power in the Baltic countries.The four-week drill is part of a string of nonstop exercises by U.S. land, sea and air forces in Europe – from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south – scaled up since last year to reassure nervous NATO allies after Russia's military intervention in Ukraine. U.S. and Russian forces are now essentially back in a Cold War-style standoff, flexing their muscles along NATO's eastern flank.The commander of Estonia's tiny air force, Col. Jaak Tarien, described the roar of American F-16s taking off from Amari – a former Soviet air base – as "the sound of freedom".The Pentagon has said that some 3,000 U.S. troops will be conducting training exercises in Eastern Europe this year.
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