by Staff Sgt. Joe W. McFadden
52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/1/2015 - LASK AIR BASE, Poland -- Four
U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft, two F-22 Raptors
and one C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft arrived at Łask Air Base, Poland,
Aug. 31, 2015.
The Airmen and aircraft are in Poland for separate flying training
events with allies to demonstrate the countries' shared commitment to
the collective security of NATO and enduring peace and stability of the
"Our friendship and partnership as allies through NATO afford us the
ability to train every day as we improve the interoperability between
all of our forces," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Christopher Bence, 3rd
Air Force and 17th Expeditionary Air Force vice commander, during a
media event held at Łask alongside Robert Kupiecki, Polish Deputy
Minister of National Defence.
Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group
The Aviation Detachment, stationed at Łask Air Base, supported the
aircraft and its Airmen and has previously hosted rotations of F-16s,
A-10s, KC-135s, and C-130s from deployed active-duty, Air National
Guard, and U.S. Air Force Reserve units to conduct bilateral training
with the Polish air force since 2011, operating under the squadron's
credo of "Razem Silniejsi -- Stronger Together."
"Of course, it all starts with partnerships, and it starts here with our
Aviation Detachment led by Lieutenant Colonel Jack Harman as we
continue forge our relationship as allies and, most importantly, as
friends," the general said.
F-16 Fighting Falcons -- 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air
Base, Germany, and 176th Fighter Squadron, Wisconsin Air National Guard
The F-16s, from the 480th Fighter Squadron, Spangdahlem Air Base,
Germany, will participate in the Aviation Detachment Rotation 15-4. The
unit will later be joined by the 606th Air Control Squadron, also at
Spangdahlem, and additional F-16s from the 176th Fighter Squadron,
Wisconsin Air National Guard.
The upcoming rotation, which is projected to be one of the largest since
the Av-Det's creation, will focus on maintaining joint readiness and
building interoperability capabilities between the Polish and U.S. Air
"This is our 19th rotation in the last two and a half years," Harman
said. "The relationship with our Polish allies is strong and growing."
F-22 Raptors -- 95th Fighter Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida
While not part of the Av-Det rotation, the F-22s and their respective
operations, maintenance and mission support Airmen from the 95th Fighter
Squadron at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, briefly visited Łask for
familiarization within European airspace.
This forward deployment of the Raptors to Spangdahlem Air Base Aug. 28
serves as part of the inaugural F-22 training deployment to Europe and
is funded by the European Reassurance Initiative, which provides support
to bolster the security of our NATO Allies and partners in Europe while
demonstrating our commitment to regional and global security.
"This is the first deployment of the F-22 as we continue to build our
partnership and train and work together to improve us as allies and as a
nation on how we will ultimately fight if we had to," Bence said.
The general said that the 95th FS Airmen will continue to train
side-by-side with allies to be able to prove how the U.S. Air Force can
operate a fifth-generation fighter in Europe.
"We continually rotate U.S. forces from the United States into Europe,
and this is a part of the training rotation," he added. "We look forward
to continue to prove that fifth-generation aircraft can operate in
Europe as we set the foundation for the future of the F-35 coming to
Europe in just the next few years."
The F-22s later returned to Spangdahlem to continue their training deployment.
"It is no surprise that the first allied base the F-22 has arrived is here at Łask, Poland," Bence said.