by Airman 1st Class Luke Kitterman
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
7/22/2015 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Members
of the 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron and 321st Special Tactics
Squadron traveled to Nowe Miasto, Poland, to perform specialized
training July 20-23, 2015.
During the day and night, 354th EFS A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft pilots
performed unimproved surface landings on an austere landing strip, set
up by 321st STS combat controllers, to simulate conditions of a deployed
"The training we are getting here with our pilots will allow us to
forward deploy even further than we already can," said U.S. Air Force
Lt. Col. Ryan Hayde, 354th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron commander. "In
a real-life scenario, combat controllers and pilots with austere
landing capabilities could land aircraft anywhere in enemy territory
without leaving a large footprint."
An unimproved surface can be dirt, grass, sand, or any other type of rugged terrain.
The old runway where the training took place consisted of cracked, uneven asphalt and was previously only conquered by a few.
"We started with just two pilots in the entire squadron qualified and
now we have an extra 10 qualified," Hayde said. "For this training,
we'll have the first set of our brand new qualified instructors leading
The 354th EFS A-10 pilots in training are a part of the first European
Theater Security Package in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve. They
are currently operating out of Lask Air Base, Poland, working together
with NATO allies.
"The mission of the Theater Security Package is to reassure our NATO
allies," Hayde said. "We have been doing that by providing micro
deployments where we take four A-10s at a time to multiple countries.
This is the final evolution of that. Now we are taking our entire
squadron and putting them on an old runway in the middle of nowhere. We
can land A-10s pretty much anywhere."