ADVON Team Arrives at Papa, Hungary

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The Heavy Airlift Wing advance echelon team arrived at Pàpa AB, Hungary, this week to begin work on the newly established base. Twelve personnel from four nations are making the necessary preparations for the arrival of the remaining HAW personnel over the next few months. The HAW will be composed of 130-155 personnel from the various SAC nations.

"We've already accomplished a lot of the work during the past several months, but there are still things that need to be done," said Colonel John Zazworsky, HAW commander. "It's great to see the different nation representatives pulling together to ensure all the pieces are in place when the rest of our team arrives."

The HAW is the operational unit of the Strategic Airlift Capability partnership, a multinational effort that gives NATO and Partnership for Peace nations the ability to support a wider range of operations, to include national, EU and UN missions.

"I want to create a team that is flexible, adaptable and expandable," said Col. Zazworsky. "I think we have the nucleus of a much larger concept and I want them prepared for whatever the future may hold."

Last week the 12 SAC nations completed the signature of the SAC Memorandum of Understanding. Within days of MoU signatures, NATO approved the establishment of the NATO Airlift Management Organization and brought its charter into force.

Under the agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense and NAMO, the first plane will be provided by the U.S. Air Force and the other two will be purchased jointly by the other SAC member nations.

The first aircraft is anticipated to arrive in the spring of 2009, with the second and third arriving in the summer. Flying operations are scheduled to begin in the spring of 2009.

The C-17s will be flown by international crews assigned by the participating nations, and will conduct missions based on national requirements.

"The SAC will provide an important new capability to address the critical alliance need for strategic airlift to support operations in Afghanistan and elsewhere, as well as other national missions, including EU and U.N. missions," said Peter Flory, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Defense Investment.

The 12 countries participating are: Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden and the United States. Ten of the nations are part of NATO, and Sweden and Finland are Partnership for Peace nations.