October 21, 2014 (by Dylan Nuckolls) - Airmen from the U.S. and Polish Air Forces started training together at the 33rd Air Base at Powidz Air Base, on October 15, 2014, for the start of Aviation Detachment rotation 15-1.
USAF C-130H2 #92-1451 from 169 AS prepares to taxi on the flight line during USAF Aviation Detachment rotation 15-1 on October 20, 2014, at Powidz AB, Poland. The rotation serves as part of a bilateral training with Poland. [USAF photo by A1C Dylan Nuckolls]
Roughly 50 Airmen and three C-130 Hercules aircraft from the 182nd Airlift Wing, Illinois Air National Guard, Peoria, Illinois, will participate in the training hosted by Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group, in Łask Air Base, Poland.
"Our mission here is to support the Aviation Detachment rotation and build upon the interoperability between our two forces," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Douglas Applegren, chief of tactics for rotation 15-1. "We have been looking forward to this rotation ever since we found out about it, and our Airmen are excited to work and train together with the Polish air force."
This event also represents the first time an ANG unit has supported a C-130 aircraft rotation at the Aviation Detachment in Poland. The bilateral training aims to maintain joint readiness and reassure regional allies and partners.
Ten Airmen assigned to the Det. 1, 52nd OG, serve as an enduring, forward-persistent presence to enable combined U.S. and Polish training and exercises to increase cooperation, enduring partnership and build interoperability between NATO partners.
"NATO's interoperability is key to the strength of the alliance," said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Jack Harman, Det. 1, 52nd OG, commander. "The Aviation Detachment builds on this by enabling U.S. aircraft to train with allies in a vital area of the world. As Poland's state partner, the Illinois Air National Guard Airmen continue to deepen established relationships and build partner capacity between US and Polish forces. In all, the combined efforts from the outstanding Airmen of the Aviation Detachment, 182nd Airlift Wing, and 33rd Air Base will display impeccable cooperation, readiness, and flexibility throughout the bilateral training to make this rotation a success."
The then-U.S. Ambassador to Poland Lee Feinstein and the then-Polish Minister of Defense Bogdan Klich signed a memorandum of understanding June 13, 2011, establishing a U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland.
The detachment later stood up at Łask in November 2012 and is supported by the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.