Katrina Cheesman, iipdigital | Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany | 26 February 2013
Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany — The first rotation of U.S. Air Force aircraft and airmen to the Poland Aviation Detachment (Av-Det) arrived at Powidz Air Base, Poland, on February 22.
For this first rotation, a number of C-130J Hercules cargo aircraft and 66 personnel from the 37th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, are training with the Polish Air Force at Powidz from February 22 to March 9.
While types of U.S. aircraft will vary, up to 200 uniformed military personnel and civilian contractors will rotate on a quarterly basis. This increased cooperation between the two nations will strengthen interoperability for NATO allies through regular training exercises.
The Av-Det is officially Detachment 1 of the U.S. Air Force’s 52nd Operations Group at Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany.
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 makes it possible for Poland to host other allied air force elements and to serve as a regional hub for air training and multinational exercises.
“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 arrival. “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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U.S. Air Force Airmen Arrive for First Stay in Poland