U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to Ramstein Air Base trained alongside Polish military service members during Aviation Rotation Detachment 21-4 at 33rd Air Base, Powidz, Poland, Sept. 13-26.
AvDet 21-4 consists of bilateral training exercises and deployments designed to enhance partner interoperability, maintain joint readiness and assure our regional allies and partners.
“AvDet 21-4 is not just about working with the Polish, but it’s also part of the Atlantic Resolve Mission where we operate within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization,” said U.S. Air Force Capt. Jeffre Wood, 37th Airlift Squadron mission commander. “It is important to show solidarity with our allies to other not so friendly countries, and show that we are serious about working with our allies and partners.”
Throughout AvDet 21-4 U.S. Air Force Airmen and Polish military members conducted more than 260 paratroopers drops, two Polish zodiac boat water drops, and a humvee drop over six drop zones. Altogether, over 55,000 pounds of equipment were dropped, and over 2500 training events were accomplished, according to Wood.
“When we do things like AvDet 21-4 we’re not just operating within our squadron like we are used to,” said Wood. “Instead we come out here and have an entire maintenance compliment, 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs, 435th Contingency Response Group, 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron and many others. This essentially gives us a miniature wing to operate.”
The 435th CRG provided operational guidance to Polish special forces members during AvDet 21-4 as they demonstrated their ability to open an airfield, offload assets and prepare a rapid and safe departure of aircraft.
“The Polish have consistently increased their capabilities as these rotations have occurred,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. James Supernault, 435th CRG air traffic controller “Every time we come out here we incorporate and cooperate with the Polish more and more, this time around they’re dropping their people, their equipment and using their aircraft.”
In addition to the 435th CRG contributions, the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assisted in a myriad of operations during the exercise
“Our job is to come out here and generate aircraft for our operators,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Clark, 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron production superintendent. “We are responsible to ensure these aircraft are safe to fly for our aircrew.”
The 86th AMXS worked around the clock ensuring repairs were being made and operations were running smoothly, said Clark.
“My most memorable experience is seeing our maintenance team generate aircraft and work with our operators and come together as a full team,” said Clark. “Even working with the Polish Air Force, it has just been ‘one team, one fight’ the whole time.”
Aviation Detachment Rotations are annual events that have occurred across the U.S. European Command area of responsibility. U.S. aircraft and Airmen have participated in these rotations since 2012.
“Working with the Polish has been incredible, they have been extremely professional and capable,” said Wood. “There’s a lot of interoperability that gets done outside of exercises like this one, but this is when we really get to showcase our capabilities and the capabilities of our partners and allies.”