How To Build An Empire: Permanent Air Force Presence In Poland


February 25, 2013

First rotation of U.S. Air Force personnel, aircraft arrives in Poland

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany: The first rotation of aircraft to the Poland Aviation Detachment (Av-Det), Detachment 1, arrived at Powidz Air Base, Poland, on Feb. 22. For this first rotation, a number of U.S. Air Force 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Hercules and personnel from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, will train with the Polish Air Force at Powidz Air Base from Feb. 22 to March 9.

While types of U.S. aircraft will vary, up to 200 uniformed military personnel and civilian contractors rotate on a quarterly basis. Sixty-six U.S. Air Force personnel from Ramstein Air Base will interact and train with the Polish Airmen. This increased cooperation between the two nations will strengthen international interoperability for NATO allies through regular combined training exercises.

The Av-Det was activated in November 2012 and marked the first enduring presence of U.S. military members on Polish soil. The Av-Det in Poland makes it possible for Poland to host other Allied Air Force elements and to serve as a regional hub for air training and multi-national exercises. The Av-Det also facilitates and enables combined U.S. and Poland training and exercises to increase air support to NATO.

“We’re going to see for the first time the fruits of our labor,” Major Matthew Spears, Detachment 1 Commander, said on the occasion of the first aircraft and personnel rotation. “Having the 37th Airlift Squadron deploy, execute, and redeploy successfully will bring a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment to the members of the Av-Det.”

Although U.S. Air Force aircraft have trained previously in Poland, this first rotation differs from other occasions. “The Av-Det focuses on opportunities to engage with [the Polish Air Force] on all fronts,” said Spears. “The Av-Det seeks to increase interoperability, not just with our aircrews but across the entire spectrum of both air forces’ capabilities.”


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