News: Av-Det, Polish air force host local community day event
Story by Tech. Sgt. Kenya Shiloh
LASK AIR BASE, Poland — Taking care of your people is pretty much ingrained in every military member’s mind no matter the branch of service you’re in or involved with. Whether it’s taking care of our families or being part of the local community, it’s important to get involved.
For members of Aviation Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group based out of Lask Air Base, Poland, and their fellow Polish air force members, bringing more than 80 students from Lask Public School Number 2 and special needs students from the Lask Care and Education Facility to the base for an aircraft tour and pilot meet and greet was their way of giving back to the community.
“We want to integrate with our community. We want to show them what we do because if they do not know what we do, it's like we do not exist,” said Polish air force Col. Krystian Ziec, 32nd Tactical Air Base commander. “So if we can show them what we do, if we can share with them our daily routine, they can know we're doing our job.”
Students were treated to a tour of the base’s airpark where they were allowed to view and climb into several aircraft displays like the MiG-29, MiG-21, Su-22 and the MiG-17. Also available was a fire engine on loan from the base fire department and an automatic rifle and hand pistol display from the base security section.
“Today is like a show and tell for the local community because a lot of these kids never had a chance to come on base before,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Kenyatta Wilson Av-Det NCO in charge of client systems. “So for a lot of them, this is a new experience. A lot of these individuals see us around town but don't know what we do. By inviting them on base they get to see how we operate.”
After a tour of the airpark, the children were escorted to the flightline to view U.S. and Polish F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft take offs before getting an up close and personal view of a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III cargo aircraft. Pilots and support personnel from the 115th Fighter Wing, Wisconsin Air National Guard were also on hand to meet with the children, exchange information and autograph posters provided by the 32nd TAB.
Michael Kwiatek, a Lask Public School student, said that the visit to the air park and other facilities is very impressive in addition to interacting with the American airmen.
“I want to thank the American soldiers,” Kwiatek said. “They are the perfect teachers to show us the planes. They are cool. You can’t stop laughing because they’re so fun. It’s my perfect day.”
The 115th FW has been in Poland since May 9 training with the Polish air force in support of Av-Det Rotation 13-2, a joint theater security cooperation event. This is the first fighter rotation for the Av-Det but second of four rotations scheduled to take place this year. During each rotation the Av-Det plans a community outreach project designed to allow U.S. military members to interact with the local community.