The United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa Warfare Center Detachment 3, Polygone, became the 19th Electronic Warfare Squadron at Polygone, Bann, Germany, May 11.
As a tri-national detachment specializing in training U.S. service members and NATO partners to effectively support transient fourth and fifth generation aircraft, the unit became a squadron to increase manning, resources and further their combat readiness.
“Our mission is expanding,” said Lt. Col. Matthew J. Steele, former Detachment 3 commander. “USAFE and Air Combat Command purchased 12 new systems for USAFE in 2019. These new systems are a massive investment, and we needed to increase our footprint of manpower to maintain those systems and provide a robust training capability for 5th generation readiness.”
The move to a squadron reactivates the 19th Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron, a unit retired in 1970, and redesignates it as the 19th EWS. The squadron activation process has been in development since 2019.
The creation of a squadron gives the 19th EWS new resources to support and develop service members and integrate partner nations.
“We are a squadron that meets the needs of 5th generation (aircraft) in theater and their integration with the rest of the international NATO force,” said Lt. Col. Jesse Palchick, 19th EWS commander. “They need more advanced training scenarios and that’s what we’re here to offer.”
The 19th EWS was officially designated during an assumption of command ceremony where Palchick became the first 19th EWS commander.
“It’s daunting but also exciting,” Palchick said. “But the good thing is it’s riding the current momentum we’ve already had, further enhancing our engagement capabilities.”
There is no rest for the newborn squadron as the next operation on their agenda is supporting exercises such as Arctic Challenge 21 alongside Norway, Germany and Sweden.
“The question is not when the war will come, the postulation is that we’ll never have another war,” Palchick said. “The name of that game is deterrence, and Polygone is one of the many rocks that turn that ‘balloon of war’ way down.”