LASK AIR BASE, Poland --
Aviation Detachment 16-3, a bilateral training deployment in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve involving U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons and Polish air forces, kicked off June 6, here.
During the two-week training, approximately 350 personnel supporting 14 F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano Air Base, Italy and six F-16s from the 138th Fighter Wing, Tulsa Air National Guard, Okla., will conduct bilateral flying training focused on improving familiarization with operational and logistical processes, maintaining joint readiness and building interoperability capabilities between the Polish and U.S. air forces.
Lt Col Jason Repak, 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 commander, said, “Aviation Detachment 16-3 is a great opportunity for our (deployed) aircrews to hone their operational skills from a forward operating location.”
He expounded further on the importance of the 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 (or AvDet) forward presence and highlighted how hosting rotational U.S. Air Forces training strengthens the U.S. and Polish alliance.
"The AvDet purpose is to maintain a small footprint in a key region at minimal cost with strategic impacts," he said. "Our enduring presence allows the U.S. to build upon a strong relationship with our Polish allies. The AvDet strengthens this relationship by fostering an environment for unique bilateral training opportunities while bolstering regional security as the sole long-term USAF unit presence in Eastern Europe."
The aviation detachment is a ten-person unit from the 52nd Fighter Wing, Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, stationed in Poland to support quarterly rotations of flying missions. This recurring training is conducted in coordination with the government of Poland to bolster interoperability between nations.
The current enduring presence at Lask AB and the AvDet's presence in Poland make it possible to host multiple allied Air Force elements and serve as a regional hub for air training and multi-national exercises.
"Every rotation brings its own unique set of opportunities to explore new ways to train together and to increase our respective capabilities," Repak explained. "This particular rotation involves a fairly complex allocation of forces to four strategically important exercises."
While in Poland as part of regular quarterly training for AvDet 16-3, the participating units will also support exercises Baltic Operations 2016, Saber Strike 2016, Swift Response 2016 and Anakonda 2016, which will be occurring concurrently.
"Living and working with the polish every day reinforces bilateral ties while strengthening relationships and interoperability between U.S., Poland and NATO," Repak said. "Periodic rotational forces are a means to bolster this relationship by creating opportunities to train together and share best practices between U.S. and Polish operators, maintenance and support personnel."