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Nashville Airmen conduct overseas MQ-9 Reaper exercise with NATO ally

A crowd from both the U.S. and Polish militaries gather to watch the launch of a remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper March 1, 2019 at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland.

A crowd from both the U.S. and Polish militaries gather to watch the launch of a remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper March 1, 2019 at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland. The launch was part of an exercise between the U.S. Air Force, Polish air forces, and local contractors celebrating the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2 becoming fully operational.

Nashville, Tenn. --

Airmen from the 118th Operations Group traveled overseas to participate in RPA training exercises with Airmen assigned to the 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2 and with Polish air forces March 1, 2019 at Miroslawiec Air Base, Poland. 

The training exercises were preceded by a ribbon cutting ceremony, marking the opening of new facilities at Miroslawiec that make the 52nd EOG Det 2 fully operational. 

Col. Todd Wiles, commander of the 118th Operations Group, Tennessee Air National Guard, said immediately following the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new facilities, local contractors launched the MQ-9 Reapers and transferred control to his Tennessee Air Guardsmen. The Guardsmen then conducted exercises over the base with both 52nd EOG Det 2 and Polish joint terminal attack controllers. 

The chance to train with other units away from their home station was something Airmen of the 118th OG really wanted to do said Wiles.

“When this opportunity arose to train with a NATO partner and get them to a flying exercise at an international location I was very interested,” said Wiles. “It meets our intent to move the readiness needle.”

Developing and maintaining relationships with the Polish air force was also an important aspect of these training events.

“I would like to express my gratitude to all of our U.S. friends for all you have done so far with the MQ-9 operation to provide for European security,” said Polish air force Col. Lukasz Andrzejewski, 12th Unmanned Aerial Vehicle base commander, Miroslawiec AB. “We appreciate all the support, involvement, openness and kindness you give us every day.”

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Greg Semmel, Air National Guard assistant to the commander, United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, said addressing regional security has been a big part of the partnership between the U.S. and Poland. 

“Over the years our proven partnership with Poland has been built upon shared values, experience and vision,” said Semmel. “As our environment continues to change, forward locations like Det. 2 become that much more critical at enhancing our ability to safeguard European security.”

(Information from a 52nd Fighter Wing news release was used in this story.)

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