USAFE Strikes Air Guard and Reserve Tanker Mission to Poland

Air Nationwide Guard and U.S. Air Pressure Reserve tankers that deploy to Europe will now function primarily from Powidz Air Base, Poland, the most recent effort to bolster the Air Pressure’s presence in japanese Europe and reassure NATO allies within the area. 

The shift from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany, to Poland is part of Copper Arrow, a U.S. Air Forces in Europe operation that makes use of tankers and Airmen from U.S.-based Guard and Reserve items who volunteer to deploy to Europe to assist operations all through the continent. 

“These CONUS-based tankers journey with Air Reserve Element members who voluntarily decide to rotations within the European [area of responsibility],” Col. Gary Dodge, Air Nationwide Guard advisor to the commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA, mentioned in an April 20 press launch. “As non-Lively Obligation servicemembers, they voluntarily assist this endeavor whereas spending time away from their civilian careers and their households.” 

Earlier this month, Air Pressure Reserve Command’s 931st Air Refueling Wing flew KC-46 tankers out of their house station of McConnell Air Pressure Base, Kansas to Powidz. From there, they built-in with Finnish Air Pressure F/A-18s, which officers mentioned demonstrates how intently U.S. Airmen can combine with accomplice air forces.

“Our U.S. tankers’ interplay and integration with our NATO Allies are a transparent demonstration of how we worth our partnerships and the significance of enhancing our interoperability,” Col. Timothy Foery, U.S. Air Pressure Reserve Advisor to the commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA, mentioned within the press launch. 

“Have a look at any picture of a KC-135 refueling a Polish F-16 or a KC-46 refueling a Finnish F/A-18, and also you instantly perceive what we imply by the phrase ‘interoperability,’” he added.

A U.S. KC-135 Stratotanker from the 186th Air Refueling Wing, a part of the Mississippi Air Nationwide Guard, refuels Polish F-16s from Powidz Air Base, Poland, as a part of the U.S. Air Pressure complete drive train, Copper Arrow. Courtesy picture.

Within the coming months, 19 totally different U.S.-based tanker items can even take part in Copper Arrow. Reserve and Guard items assist relieve stress on the RAF Mildenhall-based one centesimal Air Refueling Wing, the one tanker unit in USAFE. Additionally it is a chance for Complete Pressure crews to achieve expertise working removed from house.

“From a Guard perspective, it’s a chance for crews to function within the European theater for an prolonged time frame,” Maj. Shay Dickey mentioned about Copper Arrow in 2021. On the time, Dickey was chief of present operations and scheduling for the 116th Air Refueling Squadron and Copper Arrow detachment commander.

“The working space right here is fairly busy, so our youthful crews can get a few of that have working in a brand new area, and it actually broadens our horizons for future work within the European theater,” he mentioned.

Greater than a 12 months after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Copper Arrow transferring to Poland can be half of a bigger NATO effort to discourage Russian advances in japanese Europe.

“For the primary time in historical past, U.S. forces will likely be completely stationed on the japanese flank of Europe, in Poland,” Mark Brzezinski, U.S. Ambassador to Poland, mentioned within the press launch. 

Referencing Tadeusz Kościuszko and Common Casimir Pulaski, two Polish troopers who fought in opposition to the British within the American Revolutionary Battle, Brzezinski mentioned the ten,000-plus U.S. Airmen and Troopers on Polish bases at the moment are the most recent examples in an almost 300-year custom of Polish-American army cooperation.

“People have sacrificed for Polish freedom and Poles have sacrificed for American freedom,” he mentioned. “Right this moment, America and Poland share the identical freedoms.”