BALTOPS. Anakonda. Saber Strike. Swift Response. Thousands of U.S. and allied service members are participating in exercises across Europe, from Poland to the Baltics, to improve interoperability and prepare for real-world conflicts. They come at a time when Russia is reportedly building new bases on the borders of Ukraine.

A 10-member U.S. Air Force detachment in Poland, which for the past four years has supported the hundreds of U.S. personnel and aircraft rotating into Poland, is supporting each of the current exercises, with backup from all over the world.

Twenty U.S. F-16s from the 31st Fighter Wing out of Aviano Air Base, Italy, and the 138th Fighter Wing, Tulsa Air National Guard Base, Ohio, are at Lask air base, as part of Aviation Detachment 16-3, the latest rotation, U.S. Air Forces Europe officials told Air Force Times Tuesday. Separately, four KC-135s from the 100th Air Refueling Wing, RAF Mildenhall, U.K., and from the 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana, are at Powidz air base.

Between the two bases, more than 450 airmen are participating in these operations.

“Aviation Detachment 16-3 is a rotation of deployed forces that come here on a … quarterly basis,” said Air Force Lt. Col Jason Repak, the commander of Detachment 1, 52nd Operations Group, in Poland.

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Image courtesy of US Air Force