by Senior Airman Andrea F. Rhode
115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
5/14/2015 - MADISON, Wis. -- Two
pilots and three maintainers from the Polish Air Force visited the
115th Fighter Wing, May 2-8, as part of joint State Partnership Program
with Illinois Air National Guard.
Poland is partnered with the Illinois ANG, but because the Illinois unit
no longer maintains the Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon airframe and
requests from the Polish Air Force senior leadership, they have included
the Wisconsin unit in their partnership plans.
"Illinois partnering with Wisconsin for state partnership activity with
Poland began in 2014," said Maj. Douglas Coop, Joint Force
Headquarters-Illinois SPP director. "They expressed interest in future
cooperation with regard to the F-16 airframe and although the Illinois
[ANG] no longer possessed this capability, our neighbor directly to the
north did have the F-16 capability."
The pilots and maintainers spent the week learning about the differences between their air force and the Air National Guard.
"It's all about sharing best practices, lessons learned, and tactics,
techniques and procedures that lead to enhanced capacity and
interoperability," said Coop. "Not only for the partner nation but also
the partner state."
The 115 FW provided work center-level maintenance discussions and
demonstrations on operations and maintenance business practices,
including best practices from strategic direction to fighter squadron
"The time here was excellent," said Lt. Col. Pawel Marcinkowski, Polish
Air Force 3rd Fighter Squadron commander. "We built lots of
relationships and experiences we can take into the Polish Air Force."
According to Marcinkowski, there are a lot of similarities between the air forces.
"Everyone has their own technologies and advancements," said
Marcinkowski. "We're here to take it all in and incorporate the things
we know will work back home."
The intent of the program is expanding the SPP capability providing numerous opportunities for both parties.
"It's a win-win, if you will," said Coop. " Partnering with Poland and
conducting these mutually beneficial SPP events enhances the capability,
interoperability and readiness of the National Guard and as a result we
are better postured to defend our nation, protect our state and help