Powidz, Poland –
The 652nd Regional Support Group took the first formal steps in the unit’s historic mission providing base support to Allied forces throughout Poland during a ceremony at Powidz Air Base in Powidz, Poland, September 30.
Col. Erica Herzog, commander of the 652nd, uncased the unit’s colors with Command Sergeant Major Duane Hedrick, the 652nd command sergeant major in a ceremony with the unit’s Soldiers in front of the base chapel.
“Today is significant for the 652 because it represents the commitment of America’s support to Poland,” Herzog said. “Our presence stands as tangible proof of the 652nd’s mission to provide a secure and stable Europe, through Excellence in Sustainment!”
The 652nd RSG, from Helena, Montana, is tasked with providing basic life-sustaining needs to Allied forces in ten base camps throughout Poland - the Zagan cluster which includes base camps at Zagan, Trzebien, Karliki, and Swietoszow, as well as camps in Bemowo Piskie, Torun, Drawsko Pomorskie, Boleslawiec, Skwierzna, and Powidz. The unit will provide shower, dining facility, laundry and other services, with the goal of building on existing infrastructure and improving the overall quality of life and morale for the Soldiers.
Teams of Soldiers from the 652nd will separate into “mayor’s cells” at each base camp charged with overseeing the day-to-day facilities and functionality of the camps. They will work with Polish and American Soldiers and contractors to ensure mission success. The mission is historic because the 652nd RSG is the first Army Reserve unit to be charged with providing base camp operations in Poland.
The unit arrived in Poland September 26 following an overnight flight from Fort Hood, Texas. The Soldiers were at Fort Hood for two weeks drawing gear for the mission, receiving cultural information, and undergoing other pre-deployment training. Once in Poland, the Soldiers immediately settled into their living quarters, and started adjusting to the time change. They were also given the opportunity to visit local towns and experience some Polish culture over the weekend.
The Soldiers were able to quickly transition into a working environment due to the efforts of the “torch” party – a team of Soldiers who deployed 45 days prior to the arrival of the rest of the Soldiers.
“Our Polish allies were instrumental in helping us get settled, they provided transportation from the airport and facilitated us feeling welcome here in Powidz. We look forward to strengthening this partnership throughout our time in Poland,” Maj. Gustavo Brown, the Torch party officer in charge, said.