Airmen train in Poland for Operation Screaming Eagle

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Davis
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

POWIDZ, Poland ― Ramstein Airmen took part in Operation Screaming Eagle here for 10 days of off-station training.

The OST provides valuable practice for 42 of Ramstein’s Airmen, including C-130J Super Hercules pilots, aircrew, maintainers and airborne personnel. It also gives them the opportunity to share knowledge and build relationships with their Polish counterparts.

“There are a lot of reasons for coming to Poland,” said Capt. Aaron Stikeleather, 37th Airlift Squadron C-130J pilot and mission commander. “No. 1 is, the 3rd Airlift Wing in Powidz is our sister wing so we get to practice operating in a coalition environment with them. They also have a lot of airspace here that allows us to fly at lower altitudes and at night.”

He added that the less restrictive airspace also makes it easier to conduct personnel drops onto the airfield. The 435th Security Forces personnel completed static line jumps during the day and at night, keeping them up to date on their qualifications and prepared for real-world missions.

For the first half of the operation, the Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno-Manewrowego, the primary special forces unit for the Polish armed forces, participated in high altitude low opening, or HALO, jumps. There was also one freefall jumpmaster from Ramstein, who took advantage of the opportunity to jump and train with the GROM.

“This training is mutually beneficial for the U.S. military and for the Polish GROM,” said Tech. Sgt. Ed Dawejko, U.S. Air Forces in Europe survival, evasion, resistance and escape program manager, 603rd Air Operations Center. “Training together enhances both military forces’ capabilities to perform the HALO missions.”

Although this training helps their proficiency on a tactical level, it also contributes to the big picture objective of strengthening the international partnership.

“If we have to execute this mission operationally, it will not be the first time we’ve jumped together as allies,” Dawejko said. “I was very impressed with the capability that these forces bring to our mission and it definitely built confidence in our capability for combined operations.”

OSTs like this one and the one planned for next February prepare both wings for future operations. As Powidz transitions to becoming a larger base, Team Ramstein continues to build on the already strong partnership with their sister wing.

“They’re building up to make Powidz a mobility hub,” Stikeleather said. “This could be a huge base in the future. There is construction everywhere. It also helps that the Polish are very engaged in all of the operations that we’re doing. They’re with us every step of the way.”