Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Ambassador recognizes U.S., Polish troops deploying to Afghanistan
(3/18/10) - U.S. Ambassador to Poland, Lee Feinstein hosted a dinner for members of the Illinois National Guard and the Polish 1st Mechanized Brigade (1st Kosciuszko Brigade) in advance of the deployment of the Polish-led regiment to Ghazni province in Afghanistan March 18.
General Tadeusz Buk, the commander of the Polish Land Forces, was at the dinner to recognize the troops.
The Polish and American troops will deploy to Ghazni Province to serve in Task Force White Eagle, the Polish component of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
The Illinois National Guard’s Bilateral Embedded Support Team (BEST) has trained with their Polish counterparts at bases in Poland for the last two months. They will deploy with the Polish 1st Kosciuszko Brigade and will serve under its operational control during a six-month rotation.
Feinstein presented a proclamation issued by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to Col. Tracy Nelson, the Illinois National Guard BEST Team Chief, and presented Gen. Andrzej Przekwas, the Polish commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade, with an American flag flown over the U.S. embassy earlier in the day.
“For the past two months, Polish and U.S. troops trained side by side in Poland in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan,” Feinstein said. “Their joint service speaks to the values our countries share, and to the strong and enduring ties between Poland and the United States.”
The Illinois National Guard has worked for the past 17 years with their counterparts in the Polish Army. Since 2007, men and women from the National Guard have deployed with Polish troops in Afghanistan.
This is the first time that U.S. troops traveled to Poland in advance of their deployment to Afghanistan to train with the Polish troops they will serve with in Ghanzi province.
The goal of the Illinois Army National Guard BEST program is to embed staff officers and non-commissioned officers within the Land Forces Brigade and Battle Group staff sections of the Polish military. They serve as an integral part of the Polish Brigade Staff as subject matter experts with combat experience in Iraq or Afghanistan. In addition, the BEST program assists the Poles with NATO interoperability.
The Illinois State Partnership Program tie with Poland dates to 1993. Its purpose is to foster mutual interests and establish long-term relationships across all levels of society