Ramstein Army detachment helps prepare Polish soldiers

Story and photo by Maj. Tom Campbell
19th Battlefield Coordination Detachment

KIELCE, Poland — A tense mood filled the commander of Task Force White Eagle’s office as Afghan army, police and civilian leaders arrived to discuss security in Ghazni province.

They felt poorly treated upon entering and let Maj. Gen. Andrzej Tuz’s know. Apparently, an Afghan woman was also searched by a male soldier — a cause for outrage.

“We came here to discuss security in my province,” an Afghan governor told the general. “But I was treated like a common criminal”

Fortunately, in this scenario, the Polish troops were simply undergoing training. And the Afghans were not Afghans. They were, in fact, Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s 19th Battlefield Coordination Detachment out of Ramstein.

The weeklong exercise, known as Bagram XII, wrapped up in late August. The U.S. Army Europe event certifies Polish Land Forces for deployment, said Maj. Adam Wloczewski, of 2nd Mechanized Corps Headquarters.

About 150 officers and NCOs with the Polish 12th Mechanized Brigade, 25th Brigade of Air Cavalry and Military Gendarmerie took part. Roughly 45 U.S. military and civilian participants worked alongside their Polish counterparts.

Soon, Polish land forces will deploy to Afghanistan in support of the International Security Assistance Force. During their upcoming six-month rotation, Illinois Army National Guard Soldiers will be embedded within the brigade as a Bilateral Embedded Support Team. The BEST Soldiers will assist the task force with operations, logistics and communication, Wloczewski said.

The 19th BCD’s support made a substantial difference to the training. Brig. Gen. Johnny R. Miller, Illinois Army National Guard deputy commander, recognized the 19th BCD’s efforts during his Poland visit.

Sgt. 1st Class Carlos Martinez, the NCOIC of the 19th BCD participants, said that previous role playing experiences, and Soldiers’ experiences from deployments, brought a lot to the table.

“Bringing the knowledge and experience to the BAGRAM XII exercise improved our team and our partners’ readiness for their deployment,” Martinez said.