Air Force Aviation Detachment Opens in Poland

US and Polish officials last week established a permanent US air detachment at Lask Air Base, about 100 miles southwest of Warsaw, during a ceremony. The small-sized unit, dubbed the Av-Det, represents the first full-time presence of US military personnel on Polish soil, according to a US embassy release on Nov. 9, the same day as the unit’s stand-up. The detachment’s purpose is to strengthen the US–Polish security partnership through regular bilateral—and eventually multilateral—training exercises and rotational deployments of US military aircraft to Lask beginning in 2013. Poland has expansive training ranges and airspace less restricted than the skies of NATO allies in western Europe, say US officials. The Av-Det, which reports to the 52nd Fighter Wing at Spangdahlem AB, Germany, will have 10 dedicated personnel who will be joined by up to 200 visiting airmen and contractors on quarterly rotations with F-16s, C-130s, and other airplanes, states the release. The United States and Poland concluded an agreement on the detachment in June 2011. (Includes AFPS report by Jim Garamone) (Detachment fact sheet)