News: SecDef promotes partnership at Aviation Detachment
Story by Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano
POWIDZ AIR BASE, POLAND - U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited with U.S. and Polish airmen at Powidz Air Base, Aviation Detachment, 52nd Operations Group, Jan. 31, 2014.
Hagel traveled to Poland to discuss U.S. and Polish partnerships and defense alliances across a range of global security issues. He also thanked them for their support in Afghanistan and expressed the importance of U.S. support for Poland's defense modernization.
Hagel recognized the efforts of the U.S. and Polish service members working together in support of the U.S. Air Force Aviation-Detachment.
“It’s important that our two countries, working side by side in this effort, at this place, serve as an example,” said Hagel. “It will continue being an expanding opportunity for more joint exercises and more opportunities to work together.”
Hagel stressed the importance of cooperation between Poland and America.
“What you’re doing here is important for our two countries; it’s important for NATO, it’s important for freedom, and it is a significant symbol around the world,” said Hagel.
The Av-Det’s 10 unaccompanied airmen shared their appreciation of Hagel’s visit. The small team handles the full-spectrum Av-Det mission: to foster bilateral defense ties, enhance regional security and increase interoperability among NATO allies through combined training exercises with periodic rotational aircraft.
“It’s an honor to have the secretary of defense visiting,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Matthew Spears, commander of the U.S. Av-Det in Poland. “It demonstrates the importance of our mission and the importance of our partnerships here in Poland.”
The Av-Det was activated in November 2012, and marked the first enduring presence of U.S. military members on Polish soil. The Av-Det’s presence in Poland makes it possible to host multiple allied Air Force elements and serve as a regional hub for air training and multinational exercises. The Av-Det also facilitates and enables combined U.S. and Polish training and exercises to increase air support to NATO.