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Delaware ANG wraps up training with Polish air force

POWIDZ AIR BASE, Poland -- The 166th Airlift Wing, Delaware Air National Guard, participated in bilateral training with the Polish air force during Aviation Detachment 17-2 in support of Operation Atlantic Resolve, at Powidz Air Base, Poland from March 1 to 27, 2017.

Approximately 80 airmen and two C-130 Hercules aircraft deployed in support of the training, which included formation flights, fighter engagements, and performing aeromedical evacuation procedures; all with an emphasis on the U.S. and Poland working together to maintain joint readiness while building interoperability.

Lt. Col. Andrew Sides, the deployed forces commander, lauded the quality of training occurring at every level throughout AvDet 17-2.

“Whether it was cultural or technical, everyone learned something new,” said Sides.

Additionally, in order to maximize the number of 166 AW Airmen able to participate in AvDet 17-2, a swap-out occurred halfway during the deployment. “Transporting people in and out of theater is part of what we do, so actually getting a chance to do that provided a good training opportunity,” said Sides.

Overall, cultural differences and personnel changes did nothing to detract from the mission at hand.

“The way everyone worked together got easier as time went on,” said 1st Lt. Tom Malone, project officer for AvDet 17-2. “By the final week everyone was working really well together.”

The training concluded with a rodeo, in which two U.S. Air Force and two Polish air force teams faced off in events designed to showcase the C-130 Hercules’ wide range of capabilities. After flying together one last time in a 4-ship formation, each aircrew was judged on two events: an airdrop and tactical landing.

While the Polish air force took top honors in both categories, “It was exciting to have an opportunity to execute our mission and engage in some friendly competition,” said Sides.