US Will Beef Up Air Operations in Poland

By on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

More U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcons will deploy to Poland in the coming days and weeks, a Pentagon official said here today.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak spoke yesterday, and Siemoiniak thanked the secretary for looking at options for basing, said Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.

“No decision [have been made] on numbers yet,” he added. “That decision has not been finalized.”

U.S. European Command would provide the aircraft once a decision is made, the colonel told reporters.

The decision has been made to increase the size of the U.S. aviation detachment in Poland, Warren said. Ten U.S. Air Force personnel are stationed at Lask Air Base in Poland, “but there is no permanent jet presence there,” he added.

The airmen support quarterly rotations of U.S. F-16s and C-130s for joint training with the Polish air force. They are part of the 52nd Fighter Wing based in Spangdahlem, Germany.

Typically, there are four annual aircraft rotations to the air base, with at least two weeks of flying per rotation.

“What we are doing is reassuring our allies that we are there for them,” Warren said. “This is an important time for us to make it crystal clear to all our allies and partners in the region that the United States of America stands by them.”

This is just one of the visible actions the United States has taken since the Russian incursion into Ukraine. The United States sent six more F-15C Eagle aircraft to beef up the air policing mission in the Baltics. In addition, the USS Truxton has been deployed to the Black Sea.

These are examples, Warren said, of U.S. commitments to allies and partners in the region.

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