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Polish Air Force visits Wisconsin ANG

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andrea F. Rhode
  • 115th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Two pilots and three maintainers from the Polish Air Force visited the 115th Fighter Wing, May 2-8, as part of joint State Partnership Program with Illinois Air National Guard.

Poland is partnered with the Illinois ANG, but because the Illinois unit no longer maintains the Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon airframe and requests from the Polish Air Force senior leadership, they have included the Wisconsin unit in their partnership plans.

"Illinois partnering with Wisconsin for state partnership activity with Poland began in 2014," said Maj. Douglas Coop, Joint Force Headquarters-Illinois SPP director. "They expressed interest in future cooperation with regard to the F-16 airframe and although the Illinois [ANG] no longer possessed this capability, our neighbor directly to the north did have the F-16 capability."

The pilots and maintainers spent the week learning about the differences between their air force and the Air National Guard.

"It's all about sharing best practices, lessons learned, and tactics, techniques and procedures that lead to enhanced capacity and interoperability," said Coop. "Not only for the partner nation but also the partner state."

The 115 FW provided work center-level maintenance discussions and demonstrations on operations and maintenance business practices, including best practices from strategic direction to fighter squadron shop-level duties.

"The time here was excellent," said Lt. Col. Pawel Marcinkowski, Polish Air Force 3rd Fighter Squadron commander. "We built lots of relationships and experiences we can take into the Polish Air Force."

According to Marcinkowski, there are a lot of similarities between the air forces.

"Everyone has their own technologies and advancements," said Marcinkowski. "We're here to take it all in and incorporate the things we know will work back home."

The intent of the program is expanding the SPP capability providing numerous opportunities for both parties.

"It's a win-win, if you will," said Coop. " Partnering with Poland and conducting these mutually beneficial SPP events enhances the capability, interoperability and readiness of the National Guard and as a result we are better postured to defend our nation, protect our state and help our neighbors."