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Łask AB runway reopens, increases US, Polish military abilities in region

Runway at Łask Air Base, Poland reopens, increases U.S. and Polish military abilities in region

Leaders from the 52nd Fighter Wing and U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa had the privilege of joining their Polish allies in a ceremony celebrating the reopening of an upgraded runway at Łask Air Base, Poland, September 21, 2019. The ceremony marked the completion of several new upgrades to the European Deterrence Initiative-funded Łask Air Base runway project, which has been under construction since September 2017. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

Runway at Łask Air Base, Poland reopens, increases U.S. and Polish military abilities in region

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Greg Semmel, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, right, speaks at a ceremony celebrating the reopening of the runway at Łask Air Base, Poland, September 21, 2019. Semmel spoke on how the improved runway increases safety as U.S. and Polish forces train together for the goal of regional deterrence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope)

ŁASK AIR BASE, Poland (AFNS) --

Leaders from the 52nd Fighter Wing and U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa had the privilege of joining their Polish allies in a ceremony celebrating the reopening of an upgraded runway at Łask Air Base, Poland, Sept. 21.

The ceremony marked the completion of several new upgrades to the European Deterrence Initiative-funded project, increasing NATO capabilities in the region and demonstrating the continued U.S. commitment to security and stability in the region.

“This ceremony marks the completion of several new upgrades to the Łask Air Base airfield, which has been under construction since September 2017,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Greg Semmel, Air National Guard assistant to the commander, USAFE-AFAFRICA. “Many wonderful upgrades to the airfield, to include an extension of the runway, new lighting, new ramps and taxiways … increase our partner nations’ ability to operate safely while we train together for the goal of regional deterrence.”

These upgrades to the airfield expand both U.S. and Polish capabilities in the region.

“The reopening of the runway here at Łask (Air Base) gives us another operating location, brings it up to three where potential fighter aircraft can come in and deter threats from the East,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Cole, 52nd Operations Group, Detachment 1 superintendent. “The runway construction grooved and crowned the runway for water runoff so F-16 (Fighting Falcon) can land when there is inclement weather.”

The new runway will also help increase interoperability and partnership between U.S. and Polish forces.

“The primary funding for the upgrade on the flight line here on Łask Air Base was the EDI,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jessica Schwanebeck, 52nd Operations Group, Detachment 1 section commander. “Its purpose is to help put key capabilities in primary locations across Europe. That is where deterrence is coming from and it helps with interoperability because we are constantly building on bilateral partnerships here in Poland.”

The EDI has helped increase U.S. and NATO readiness.

“EDI enables the United States to position the right capabilities in key locations around Europe so we can respond to any adversarial threat in a timely manner,” Semmel said. “Posturing Detachment 1 in Poland gives us the ability to work hand-in-hand with our Polish allies and ultimately increase the overall capability and readiness of our NATO allies and regional partners.”

The ceremony was an opportunity for both U.S. and Polish military leaders to express their appreciation for the continuing partnership.

“To our distinguished American friends, and I could say, brothers-in-arms, thank you so much for being here,” said Polish Brig. Gen. Ireneusz Nowak, 2nd Tactical Air Wing commander. “We are honored to have you here and I am positive that this base has a great future together for both Polish and American nations. We are stronger together.”