SecAF, CSAF, CMSAF visit Airmen standing the watch

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  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass visited Airmen and allies at Łask Air Base, Poland, Dec. 19. 

 Łask Air Base is also known as the 32nd Tactical Air Base of the Polish Air Force and host to the 52nd Operations Group’s Detachment 1.   

 Leaders met with the cadre of Detachment 1 and deployed Airmen of the 48th Fighter Wing from RAF Lakenheath, United Kingdom.  

 “Our support for NATO Air Shielding Operations is critical to deter further regional aggression,” Kendall said. “While Air Shielding relies on aircraft, sensors and armament — it simply wouldn’t matter without dedicated Airmen in various specialties and an equally dedicated ally like we have in the Polish Air Force.” 


 The visit was part of a larger effort to visit Airmen and Guardians serving far from home — especially as the holiday season draws closer. 

“We have Airmen deployed all over the world, conducting 24/7 operations — standing the watch,” Brown said. “As current events show, the security of our nation, our allies and partners should never be taken for granted, and the U.S. Airmen and Polish troops serving at Łask Air Base and all across Europe are helping safeguard that collective security. I really can’t thank our Airmen enough, especially those that are away from their families.” 

 Senior leaders shared a meal with Polish leaders and deployed Airmen. 

“Meeting and connecting with our Airmen standing watch with our NATO allies has been absolutely inspiring,” Bass said. “I couldn’t be more proud of their commitment and dedication to the mission.” 

The Detachment is comprised of a team of 11 Airmen on one-year remote rotations. Their original purpose was to host roughly four exercises a year. From 2012 to 2021, the Detachment received 6,423 deployed Airmen and supported 321 deployed aircraft.   

This year, operations have picked up with the Detachment supporting 14 visiting squadrons, 3,200 deployers and 116 deployed aircraft. This substantial increase was not possible without a team effort, a testament to the Detachment’s motto of ‘Razem Silniejsi,’ which translates to ‘Together Stronger.’ 

“Here at Lask, and our location at Powidz, our small team is backed up with great partners,” said Lt. Col. Sean Murphy, Detachment 1 commander. “There’s not much my team can’t do, but when we face an issue we can’t solve on our own or need access to host a large unit — I can count on my Polish counterparts and our host-wing, the 52nd Fighter Wing, to find a way or help us fix the issue.” 

The sentiment was echoed by Polish military leadership. 

“Our base is home to our own F-16 fighter crews and maintainers,” said Polish Air Force Col. Piotr Ostrouch, 32nd Tactical Air Base commander. “Sharing it with like-minded partners is an honor. We appreciate our guests and value our time together.” 

Kendall and Brown also signed a guestbook while at Łask Air Base and took in the historical significance of the moment. 

“Meeting Airmen and our Polish allies was special,” Kendall said. “The Polish Air Force predates our own Air Force and has a rich history. When Poland fell in World War II, Polish combat aviators bravely continued their fight taking to the skies alongside the Royal Air Force, even flying British aircraft. Serving alongside friendly nations is not a new concept, but these American Airmen and their Polish allies continue an honored legacy — standing the watch, guarding democracy, and opposing autocracy.”