US, Polish airmen build capabilities, partnership

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Damon Kasberg
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 86th and 182nd Airlift Wings are participating in bilateral training with the Polish Air Force here during Aviation Detachment 16-1 in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve from Oct. 12 through Nov. 6.

C-130s from both wings and nearly 150 personnel took part in the flying training deployment, which focused on maintaining joint readiness, while building interoperability.

"It's important for us to work together and reach a similar level of training," said Polish Air Force Col. Mieczysław Gaudyn, the 33rd Air Transport Base commander. "It's also important for us to build this friendship and brotherhood, to be able to count on each other and show the world our partnership is strong."

Working side by side, U.S. and Polish airmen completed a variety of training objectives including realistic night vision goggle training, fighter intercept training, and aircraft commander upgrade qualifications.

"This is my first time working with C-130Js and Polish pilots," said 1st Lt. Katie Maglia, a 182nd AW C-130H Hercules pilot. "It has been great for me to see all the processes and learn how to fly together. It has been good interacting with everyone. There's a lot of camaraderie, and a little friendly competition, but at the end of the day we're all Hercules pilots."

The Polish C-130E Legacies were able to take part in large formations with the Air Force C-130 Hercules and C-130J Super Hercules; training that isn't normally available to them.

"One of the goals of the AVDET is to be able to fly our C-130s with the Poles in a formation seamlessly," said Capt. Chris Dean, a 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J Super Hercules pilot. "Flying in formation allows us to get mass on a drop zone. If there's ever an exercise or operation when we need each other, we're able to integrate and fly together."

In 2011, the U.S. and Poland signed a memorandum of understanding, establishing an Air Force aviation detachment in Poland. Since 2013, U.S. military aircraft and personnel have participated in rotational deployments to Poland, performing the basis of an enduring partnership.