Airmen train with Polish counterparts

Story and photos by Senior Airman Aaron-Forrest Wainwright
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

POWIDZ, Poland — Ramstein Airmen from the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 86th Airlift Wing trained together, along with Polish military members, in exercise Screaming Eagle IV, held here July 24 through Aug. 3.

“Poland is one of our strongest and closest allies in the world and is a leader in Europe,” said President Barack Obama. “What we want to do is to create an environment in this region in which peace and security are a given. That’s not just good for this region. It is good for the United States of America.”

Screaming Eagle is an annual exercise hosted by the 33rd Air Base that allows pilots from the 37th Airlift Squadron to conduct training with the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft, while facilitating training for several other units.

“Poland provides an excellent place for our aircrews to increase proficiency on

several different flying scenarios, as well as training opportunities for maintainers, aerial porters and the airborne personnel we have here with us,” said Capt. Dean Brown, exercise mission commander and 37th AS pilot. “In addition, we get to learn from and share information and tactics with the Polish while integrating partnerships.”

The 435th Contingency Response Group used this opportunity to work together with the 37th AS to complete night vision goggle qualifications that are otherwise difficult to maintain at home station.

“Here we are able to train CRG aerial porters to operate in complete darkness using NVG,” said Master Sgt. Jeffery Platz, an NVG instructor with the 435th Air Mobility Squadron. “At Ramstein, we cannot get the flightline completely dark, so the training we conduct here is more realistic.”

This training gives the pilots and the ground crew critical experience on possible future contingencies where landing on an airfield under the cover of darkness is essential to mission success.

The training opportunities in Poland also benefited two Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialists from Ramstein who jumped side-by-side with 10 members of the Polish special forces during the second week of the exercise. The U.S. jumpers and Polish special forces conducted high altitude, low opening jumps multiple times during the days and nights.

“Anytime we have a chance to build partnerships and enhance the interoperability between our respective forces is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of to the utmost,” said Staff Sgt. C. Brandon Fountain, 435th CRG SERE specialist and air adviser.

The partnerships built between Poland and the U.S. during this exercise and others have paved the way for a new aviation detachment to be established in Poland to support quarterly joint training exercises with F-16s and C-130s.

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