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New rotation arrives for exercises in Poland

Aug. 14, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Two C-130Js from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, land at Powidz Air Base, Poland, on Aug. 14.
Two C-130Js from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, land at Powidz Air Base, Poland, on Aug. 14. (Staff Sgt. Jarad Denton/Air Force)
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Approximately 75 airmen and two C-130J Super Hercules from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, arrived Thursday at Powidz Air Base, Poland, for exercises with Poland and neighboring Baltic States.

The rotation is one of a series under Operation Atlantic Resolve, a continuing effort to demonstrate U.S. commitment to reassuring NATO allies and European partners.

Over the next few weeks, the airmen and their Polish and Baltic counterparts will practice low-level flight training, touchdowns at unimproved landing zones and airdrop training of both cargo and personnel, according to a news release.

The Ramstein cargo planes are from the 37th Airlift Squadron and the airmen are from the 86th Airlift Wing, Capt. Sybil Taunton, spokeswoman for U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Current Operations Division, told Air Force Times.

“This training is absolutely invaluable toward maintaining joint readiness, building interoperability and strengthening relationships with NATO partners,” Lt. Col. Barry King II, 37th Airlift Squadron detachment commander at Powidz, said in the release. “Our continuing contributions to develop and improve air readiness are significant in maintaining security and building partnership capacity.”

Also, about 600 soldiers from the Fort Hood, Texas-based 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, will rotate to Poland.

“These units will replace the paratroopers of U.S. Army Europe’s 173rd Airborne Brigade ‘Sky Soldiers,’ who have, since April, been participating in multinational training with U.S. allies in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland,” Army Col. Steven Warren told reporters Wednesday. The soldiers are scheduled to participate in this rotation for about three months, Warren said.

The exercises are meant to “send a message that we are committed to a peaceful, stable and secure Europe,” King said.

Meanwhile, in the most recent sign of unrest in the Ukraine-Russia standoff, a Russian convoy of more than 250 vehicles reportedly carrying humanitarian aid was en route, as of Thursday, toward Ukraine, heading toward a border crossing controlled by pro-Russian rebels in the Luhansk region. Ukraine’s government in Kiev said the goods would only be allowed in if they were inspected by the international Red Cross.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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