State Partnership Program demonstrates true collaboration with California

1 2 3 4 5

NORTH SEA (July 26, 2011) Mr. Charlie Baker (second from right), a civilian who works with the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 area search platoon, discusses the search parameters of the next mission with Navy archeologist Alexis Catsambis aboard the Military Sealift Command rescue and salvage ship USNS Grasp (T-ARS 51). MDSU-2 and Navy archeologists, scientists, and historians are in the North Sea conducting diving operations verifying the sites of suspected shipwrecks. The researchers hope to find USS Bonhomme Richard, the historic ship commanded by John Paul Jones. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ja'lon A. Rhinehart/RELEASED)

Members of the California and Alabama Air National Guards arrive at Mirgorod Air Base, Ukraine July 16 2011 to take part in Safe Skies 2011. Safe Skies 2011 is a military-to-military exchange between the US, Ukraine and Poland to enhance airspace security over the Ukraine and Poland in preparation for Eurocup 2012. (U. S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn, 144 FW/PA / Released)

Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, 144th Fighter Wing California Air National Guard, discusses the itinerary for Safe Skies 2011 with his Ukrainian counterparts July 16. Safe Skies 2011 is a State Partnership program military-to-military exchange between California, Ukraine and Poland to enhance airspace security over the Ukraine and Poland in preparation for Eurocup 2012. (U. S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn, 144 FW/PA / Released)

Ukraine SU-27s fly with Air National Guard F-16s over the sunflower fields of Ukraine during SAFE SKIES 2011. Safe Skies 2011 is a military-to-military exchange between the US, Ukraine and Poland to enhance airspace security over the Ukraine and Poland in preparation for Eurocup 2012. (U. S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn, 144 FW/PA / Released)

Lt. Col. Kirk Toomey of the California Air National Guard sits in a planning meeting before the launch of an intercept mission during SAFE SKIES 2011. Safe Skies 2011 is a military-to-military exchange between the US, Ukraine and Poland to enhance airspace security over the Ukraine and Poland in preparation for Eurocup 2012. (U. S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Charles Vaughn, 144 FW/PA / Released)

The National Guard State Partnership Program paired 144th Fighter Wing from Fresno Air National Guard Base, California, with Mirgorod Air Base, Ukraine. Through the program, and SAFE SKIES 2011, the 144th Fighter Wing has developed a strong bond with the former soviet bloc-country.
 

California has been planning SAFE SKIES 2011 since 2009. Lt. Col. Robert Swertfager, SAFE SKIES Project Officer and member of the 144th Fighter Wing, said “our partnership has laid the foundation for this event, and this engagement is providing Ukraine an amazing opportunity to learn more about air sovereignty operations.”
 

More than 60 air sovereignty mock intercepts were scheduled during the event. Members of the Western Air Defense Sector traveled to Mirgorod Air Base to provide support and to work with their Ukrainian counterparts. Ukrainian Su-27s and MiG-29s, and Polish F-16s intercepted Air National Guard aircraft during air sovereignty events. The Air National Guard F-16s played the role of distressed or hijacked aircraft, creating potential airborne threats over the Ukrainian and Polish populace. Scenarios like these force the allied partners to test their alter response mechanisms, which will better prepare them for a real airborne threat.
 

“We learned so much from the events of September 11, 2001,” said Lt. Col. Kirk Toomey, the SAFE SKIES Operations Project Officer and Alert Commander at the 144th Fighter Wing. “We want to share from our experiences and better enable them to protect their citizens from any terrorist threats. Protecting the EUROCup spectators is similar to us protecting the football fans watching the Super Bowl.”
 

Another task of Air National Guard pilots was to work with the Polish Air Force to test any communication limitations specific to air sovereignty operations.
 

“The collaboration with Poland is also a very important aspect of this event,” said Toomey. “Understanding each others’ tactics is critical to the collaboration required in air sovereignty missions.”
 

“This state partnership initiative sets the foundation for future training with Ukraine. The lessons learned during this engagement will provide us with valuable information for deploying Fresno fighter aircraft and personnel in the future,” Toomey added.
 

SAFE SKIES, a two-week event, concludes tonight with a friendship dinner. “It’s a time for us to reflect on the interactions that have taken place during Safe Skies 2011 and an opportunity to look forward to future partnership events,” said Swertfager.
 

Find more articles tagged with:

Comments: 0

Your comment:

Related Topics

A Hungarian Special Forces Medic, right, directs the evacuation of a simulated casualty to safety to his Romanian SOF medic counterpart during the Field Training Exercise as part of the Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) course held in Udbina, Croatia. 
U.S. Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) developed and conducted the TCCC Train-the-Trainer course to enhance the SOF capability and interoperability of SOF medics from eight NATO and partner nations, but most importantly, to incorporate one recognized standard for managing trauma on the battlefield. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Donald Sparks, SOCEUR Public Affairs Officer  â? photo approved for public release by Master Sgt. Donald Sparks, SOCEUR PAO).

Ready Forces

VAZIANI TRAINING AREA, Republic of Georgia-In front of a color detail with the national colors of America and the Republic of Georgia and the unit colors of the U.S. Marine Corps and Georgian military, Maj. Eric J. Andersen, executive officer Black Sea Rotational Force 11 and Kent, Wash., native,  â?forms the troops for the opening ceremony of Exercise Agile Spirit 2011, marking the official start of what is scheduled to be an annual training event with the partner nation. Marines with Alpha Company of Anti-Terrorism Battalion, and 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion deployed to Georgia for their annual training to supplement the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force deployment of BSRF-11, to conduct counterinsurgency and peacekeeping operations training at Vaziani Training Area. , Cpl. Tatum Vayavananda

International Cooperation

Flag of Poland

Poland

Flag of Ukraine

Ukraine

Capt. Barbara Bujak, physical therapist at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, speaks in her native tongue, Polish, with members of Multinational Battle Group East's Polish Contingent and European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo. Bujak, who was born in Poland, moved to the U.S. at age 11 and joined the U.S. Army five years ago. Bujak's temporary assignment at Camp Bondsteel allowed her to experience a familiar ceremony in a new location.

Military-to-Military Engagement Program

SPP Soldiers

National Guard State Partnership Program

A US Airman waits to offload the final pallets from the cargo aircraft which arrived in Russia from Sigonella delivering firefighting equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Keith Houin provided in real time via smartphone/RELEASED)

U.S. Air Forces in Europe

Related Articles

  • USAREUR to expand land force training exercises in Baltic region

    As a continued demonstration of the United States’ commitment to NATO and our collective defense responsibilities, U.S. Army Europe will deploy forces to Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to conduct expanded land force training exercises, reinforcing our commitment to the security of our allies in the region.
  • Forward…Ready…Now: USAF builds partnership with Polish Armed Forces

    More than 100 Airmen and three C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, deployed to enhance bilateral defense ties with Polish armed forces members during a scheduled aircraft rotation to the U.S. Air Force Aviation Detachment in Poland.
  • Statement from Central European Chiefs of Defense Conference

    Chiefs of defense from Central and Eastern reinforced the importance of NATO and their alliance and partnerships emphasizing proven partnerships built on shared values, experiences and vision.
  • Spokesman: F-16 Augmentation Continues U.S.-Poland Partnership

    A dozen more F-16s and 300 personnel based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, will augment the U.S. aviation detachment at Lask Air Base, Poland, a Pentagon spokesman announced today.
  • Hagel, Dempsey Outline U.S., Partner Approach to Ukraine

    In advance of their budget testimony this morning before a Senate panel, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey outlined Defense Department activities pertaining to the crisis in Ukraine.
  • Official Provides Details on U.S. Augmentation in Baltics

    Following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement today during Senate testimony that the United States is augmenting its participation in NATO's air policing mission in the Baltics and will increase joint training through its aviation detachment in Poland, a defense official provided additional information.
  • Hagel ends Poland trip with U.S., Polish Airmen

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spent the last afternoon of his first official visit to Poland by stopping at an air base where U.S. and Polish Airmen work side by side, and later at a historic church where his great grandparents were married in 1882.
  • Michigan Guard celebrates 20-year partnership with Latvia

    The Michigan National Guard celebrates their 20-year partnership with Latvia with a look back at how the partnership started and and some milestones along the way.
  • Hagel Commends Latvia's Participation in Afghanistan

    In a Pentagon meeting with Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel commended Latvia for its steadfast participation in International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan and for the energy and perspective that Latvia and its Baltic counterparts have brought to NATO, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
  • Hagel, NATO Defense Ministers Gather at 'Inflection Point'

    NATO defense ministers are meeting this week as the alliance faces what many here call an inflection point: how to preserve hard-earned NATO operational capabilities while winding down operations in Afghanistan over the coming months
U