POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland — More than 100 Airmen assigned to the 86th Airlift Wing, along with two C-130J Super Hercules said, ‘tschuess,’ to Germany and, ‘cześć,’ to Poland for the latest iteration of Operation Atlantic Resolve.
“We’re here as part of the aviation rotation to operate and train with the Polish air force,” said Capt. Jonathan Hansen, 37th Airlift Squadron pilot and OAR mission commander.
The mission of OAR entails enhancing interoperability with the Polish air force while also maintaining regional security. The NATO-led OAR mission goes back to 2014.
“We’re here to stand side by side with our Polish brothers,” Hansen said. “They’re one of our strongest NATO partners, and we’re here to stand shoulder to shoulder with them.”
The 86th AW Airmen arrived in Poland on Oct. 13 and began flying operations Oct. 16. Along with the 86th AW, Airmen assigned to the
934th Airlift Wing, out of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, brought their C-130s as well.
“We’re working with our partner nation allies to bring our own tactics and procedures together to meld them into one,” Hansen said. “Since we speak different tactical languages and some of our procedures are slightly different, opportunities like this are very important so that we can get everything hashed out and gain that experience between our communities.”
While training with the Polish, 37th AS pilots and loadmasters practiced tactics they wouldn’t normally have the chance to practice.
For this particular iteration, pilots are practicing formation inter-flying, where aircraft of different models fly in a single formation. While this sounds simple enough, the reality is much more difficult, Hansen said.
“We’re operating with models of the C-130, which are much older,” Hansen said. “The ‘H’ model (operated by the reserves) and the ‘E’ model, which the Polish operate, are vastly different in a lot of regards, so actually operating with them, flying with them, talking with them is something a lot of us haven’t had the opportunity to experience.”
For two weeks, 86th Airlift Wing Airmen will train alongside their reserve brethren and some new Polish brothers and sisters.