ŁASK AIR BASE, Poland --
ŁASK AIR BASE, Poland – Footsteps pound the pavement as several maintainers rush to do final checks on jets. The sound of jet engines erupt as pilots from the 90th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron get ready for take-off. These are the sounds of a bustling airfield all under the careful watch of Airmen from the 820th Base Defense Group.
The 824th Base Defense Squadron forward deployed from Ramstein Air Base, Germany to support the 90th EFS executing the NATO Air Shielding mission at Łask Air Base, Poland. The Air Shielding mission is designed to increase the air and missile defense posture along the Eastern Flank of NATO’s alliance and provides a key component to NATO’s Deterrence and Defense posture. Airmen from the 824th BDS are responsible for providing security for NATO and U.S. assets to accomplish this mission.
“Our unit specializes in air base defense within austere environments. We can deploy at a moment’s notice to go anywhere in the world to defend U.S. and NATO assets,” Staff Sergeant Alexander Fossum, 824th BDS, Bravo Flight Squad 1 leader summarized.
The 824th BDS embodies the principles of Agile Combat Employment as a self-sustained unit. The squadron is made up of several different Air Force Specialty Codes that provide a unique interoperability skillset within the squadron. Members in the unit are trained by individuals in different AFSCs to help multiply the unit’s efforts during missions.
“A big part of my job is doing education with my unit,” Tech. Sergeant Summers Teeters, 824th BDG Independent Duty Medical Technician explains. “When we’re back home and we’re training, I try to integrate as fully as I can with them so we know what each other’s missions look like. This helps to set us up for success when we go into real-world situations such as this.”
Deployments like this offer great opportunities for new Airmen like Airman 1st Class Austin Waters, 824th BDS fire team member, to put their training into action and learn from their teammates.
“My leadership motivates me to do more training and get more certifications,” Waters says. Members of the 820th BDG have many unique opportunities to attend different Army and Air Force schools to better equip them to operate in joint environments.
“We have amazing leadership that push us to be better each and everyday.”