Airmen from the U.S. Air Force’s 435th Air Ground Operations Wing and 86th Airlift Wing continue to train with Polish military members in Exercise Screaming Eagle IV here July 24 through Aug. 3.
“Poland is one of our strongest and closest allies in the world and is a leader in Europe,” said President Barack Obama. “What we want to do is to create an environment in this region in which peace and security are a given. That’s not just good for this region. It is good for the United States of America.”
Screaming Eagle is an annual exercise at Poland’s 33rd Air Base here that allows pilots from the 37th Airlift Squadron to conduct training with the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft while facilitating training for several other units.
“Poland provides an excellent place for our aircrews to increase proficiency on several different flying scenarios, as well as training opportunities for maintainers, aerial porters and the airborne personnel we have here with us,” said Capt. Dean Brown, exercise mission commander and 37th AS pilot. “In addition, we get to learn from and share information and tactics with the Polish while integrating partnerships.”
The 435th Contingency Response Group used this opportunity to work together with the 37th AS at this location to complete night-vision goggle qualifications that are otherwise difficult to maintain at home station.
“Here we are able to train (contingency response group) aerial porters to operate in complete darkness using (night-vision goggles),” said MSgt. Jeffery Platz, 435th Air Mobility Squadron night-vision goggle instructor. “At Ramstein (Air Base, Germany), we cannot get the flightline completely dark, so the training we conduct here is more realistic.”
This training gives the pilots and the ground crew critical experience on possible future contingencies during which landing on an airfield under the cover of darkness is essential to mission success.
Also benefiting from the training opportunities in Poland are two survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists from Ramstein AB who are jumping side-by-side with ten members of the Polish special forces during the second week of the exercise. The U.S. jumpers and Polish special forces conducted high-altitude, low-opening jumps multiple times, day and night.
“Anytime we have a chance to build partnerships and enhance the interoperability between our respective forces is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of to the utmost,” said SSgt. C. Brandon Fountain, 435th CRG SERE specialist and air advisor.
The partnerships built between Poland and the U.S. during this exercise and others have paved the way for a new aviation detachment to be established in Poland to support quarterly joint training exercises with F-16 Fighting Falcons and C-130’s.
With the advent of the new 33rd Air Base detachment Dec 8, the two countries plan to continue to strengthen bonds as allies while preparing their armed forces for joint contingencies, officials said.