WARSAW, Poland --
The 52nd Fighter Wing’s geographically separated units are of paramount importance to the mission; visits to these GSUs allows leadership to highlight the important purpose shouldered by each and every person serving at the GSU, while reviewing the mission progress.
U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Bailey, 52nd FW commander and Chief Master Sgt. Alvin Dyer, 52nd FW command chief, visited 52nd Operations Group, Detachment 2, on Mirosławiec Military Air Base, Poland, January 29, 2018. Bailey and Dyer also visited 52nd OG, Det. 1 on Łask Air Base, Poland, January 30, 2018.
Det. 1 was established in 2011 and currently has a small contingent of Airmen serving there; Det. 2 was established in 2018 and has about 75 Airmen and contractors. Both locations have been a tremendously successful collaboration between U.S. and Polish air forces, Bailey said.
“Det. 2 is one of the great success stories of the year as we transition into 2019 in terms of building a capability very rapidly,” Bailey said. “In a period of about six months, we have gone from what was essentially an empty field to a complete fence line, intelligence facilities, a revamped ground control station with great capabilities and multiple satellite dishes that now can command and control all the way across the world. To be able to put that kind of capability in and now have a dedicated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance platform right here on site in the European theater, it could not be more important from a timing standpoint.”
Dyer observed the accomplishments made by those at Det. 2 because the personnel there understand the mission and have a clear sense of purpose.
“At Det. 2, there is a clear understanding of what their mission is and any time you have units that have a clear vision of what their mission is, readiness is high which means morale is even higher,” Dyer said. “It was really evident that they had a sense of purpose, they knew the mission and the work that they put in is far above what we could ever expect from any unit in the conditions they are in.”
For the Polish forces at Mirosławiec MAB, the presence of U.S. personnel is welcomed and has resulted in a cross-cultural experience.
“The presence of the U.S. detachment on our base has definitely had a very positive impact not only on the whole military environment in Mirosławiec, but also on the civilian population,” said Polish air force Major Margaret Krywiak, 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Base chief of staff. “It is very interesting for our UAV personnel to have the opportunity to exchange experiences with the US personnel. The Americans have successfully assimilated with the local population, they spend time together after work, they play sports, and they go to the gym together. We are all like one big family. We invite each other to the main celebrations and festivals - it gives us a real feeling of unity, sincerity and great cooperation.”
Meanwhile at Łask Air Base, U.S. Air Force members at Det. 1 are preparing for several cooperative exercises with their Polish allies.
“When you look at Det. 1, you know the core of their mission in terms of the aviation detachment rotation which is the principle purpose for the folks we have out there, they are right there in the heart of the planning stages, prepping to execute aviation detachment rotation one with C-130s out of Fort Worth, which will be coming in to do inter-fly and training with the Polish C-130s,” Bailey said. “They have a portion of the unit which is very focused on aviation detachment rotation 19-2 when Spangdahlem will go up in June and fly with the F-16s that they have up there. They are constantly in a phase of preparing to execute, which is right where they are now getting ready to roll out and execute 19-1, but also doing the planning that goes on for the follow-on stages.”
The progress made by members of Det. 1 impressed Dyer during his visit.
“It is astonishing to see the footprint that they cover in a country so big with a small group of people,” Dyer said. “They wholeheartedly understand what they are there for, they understand the mission, they understand alliances and the importance of what NATO provides for them and what they can do for this region. And they understand the regional stability. I could not ask for a better group of folks to be out there leading and taking care of business there.”
Visits to the GSUs of the 52nd FW are important both for morale purposes and to allow leadership to firsthand observe the accomplishments made by American personnel.
“Mainly the boss and I come out here, because we have to be hands on and eyes on for whatever the mission set is for this theater and we have to make sure that we understand the mission set and how it develops and how it changes out there, and then to remove any roadblocks that they might have,” Dyer said. “Our purpose is to go out there and check out the mission and at the end of the day see what the Airmen are doing and show them that we absolutely appreciate and love what they are doing out there.”
For both locations, the Polish government has been monumental in ensuring members of the 52nd OG are successful.
“You know relationships are the coin of the realm when it comes to executing in the coalition and allied world,” Bailey said. “Poland has just been a tremendous partner. You also see at Det. 2 as it is working together with our Polish allies to help NATO.”
The spirit of the Airmen at both locations is an important factor to their success and it was impressive to 52nd FW leadership.
“I cannot overstate the importance of understanding where you fit in,” Dyer said. “I was most impressed with the spirit the Airmen had out there, all the way from the top-level leadership down to the newest Airman. The spirit they have to go out there and get every job accomplished. No matter what time frame it took them, if they had to stay at the latest hour or come in a little bit earlier, the spirit they had to make sure that mission gets off because they understood exact why they were there. I was impressed with that wholeheartedly.”
The capabilities and individuals at both detachments are making great strides in building important partnerships and ensuring national security.
“The biggest thing is to never lose sight of those tremendously important capabilities, and as importantly, those folks that we have, significant members of the Saber Nation out doing amazing things, having strategic impacts at our locations around Europe and in this case, talking about Poland, doing just an amazing job working with our partners and everyday doing great things for America,” Bailey said.