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Polish air force recognizes C-130 maintainers for quick assistance

January 6, 2014 (by Senior Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn) - A group of Airmen from the 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, strengthened an alliance with the Polish air force recently, when a Polish C-130 aircraft developed a problem with one of its propellers.

Polish Air Force Colonel Andrzej Kusnierek addresses a group of 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen at a ceremony Jan. 3, 2013, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. During the ceremony, he thanked the Airmen for helping to replace a propeller on a Polish C-130 aircraft, and presented them with certificates of appreciation and small gifts. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Master Sgt. Gary J. Rihn)

The Polish contingent needed assistance to deal with the faulty propeller, so they reached out to their American counterparts.

On short notice, a team of aircraft maintainers from the 455th EAMXS worked on the Polish aircraft, swapped the leaking propeller for a new one, and allowed the Polish group to get their aircraft back into action quickly.

"I was happy that the prop change went off as quickly as it did," said Staff Sgt. Daniel McGrew, one of the maintainers involved in the job.

As the 455th EAMXS maintainers did their work, they worked together with the Polish aircrew, who performed the run up and operations checks.

"It was really interesting talking with the aircrew as we worked," said Master Sgt. James Simmons.

After the aircraft was returned to flying duty, the Polish air force wanted to thank the American maintainers for responding so quickly. To show his appreciation, Polish air force Col. Andrzej Kusnierek, the International Security Assistance Force Regional Command-East deputy commanding general for coalition forces, presented eight of the 455th EAMXS workers with certificates of appreciation and small gifts in a ceremony conducted in the Bagram C-130 hangar.

All agreed that it was a rewarding and unique experience, and one that they were happy to have participated in.

"It was really cool; not every day do you receive appreciation from a foreign military officer," said Senior Airman Arianna Banks. "This is a great story to take home from my deployment."

After the ceremony, U.S. Air Force Col. Raymond Strasburger, the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing chief of staff, addressed the maintainers, saying "The Polish military is a valuable ally. What you did was a huge coalition building effort."

Courtesy of 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

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