Team Ramstein continues to foster partnership with Polish Air Force

by Staff Sgt. Markus M. Maier
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Three Polish maintenance officers toured the 86th Maintenance Group as part of an official visit to Ramstein Sept. 7 through Sept 9.

The purpose of their three-day visit, which was part of the continuing partnership between the 86th Airlift Wing and the Polish Air Force, was to familiarize the officers with U.S. Air Force maintenance production with an emphasis on status reporting and preventative maintenance.

“We’ve shown them everything that the maintenance group does,” said 2nd Lt. Bradley McNamara, 86th MXG Sortie Support Flight commander. “We showed them everything from the actual aircraft to scheduled inspections and maintenance on the parts that we pull off the aircraft. They also got to ride along with the production superintendent for an afternoon.”

Powidz Air Base, Poland, received the first two of five refurbished U.S. C-130E Hercules in 2009 as part of a program for building partnership capacities between the United States and Poland.

The entire project, including total refurbishment of the five aircraft, support equipment, supplies, training and contracted logistics support, is valued at $120 million. The donation is a result of an American pledge to provide Poland with such a capability, and is fully funded through bilateral military assistance grant money.
According to Polish Capt. John Szczepanski, with the Polish Air Force Affairs Office, Poland is very eager to support its forces in Afghanistan with its own airlift capability, and the C-130 gives them a much greater capability than the smaller CASA 295, which is currently used. The Hercules will also create an enhanced interoperability between Polish and U.S. airlift forces.

“We’ve been using the C-130 Hercules since March of last year,” said Polish Capt. Andrzej Slusarz, an on-board installations section chief. “We have two of them now and we are scheduled to receive two more this year.

So we came here to collect some experience and knowledge about your maintenance process. We don’t have as much money in our country, but we are trying to do as much as we can. We hope that we can use some of the experiences we made during this tour for our own maintenance program.”

At the conclusion of their visit, the officers were presented certificates and coins by Col. Scott Fike, 86th MXG commander.

“We are glad that we had the opportunity to build on this partnership and share ideas on what we do in aircraft maintenance and logistics here at Ramstein,” the colonel said.