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NEWS | May 31, 2016

Largest U.S. military transport aircraft makes historic landing in Poland for Anakonda 16

By Sgt. Daniel Lybeck 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command

The landing created a historic logistics partnership between the Air Force, the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, the Polish Ministry of Defense, and Polish civilian airport workers. 

Anakonda 16 is a Polish-led exercise that brings together land forces from 24 nations to train together as one military to demonstrate that the Alliance and its partners are ready for and capable of dealing with any contingency. 

One of those forces training for any contingency operation is the 364th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The ESC is responsible for opening the theater and preparing logistics staging areas for all U.S. military units in Poland. Although Anakonda 16 officially starts June 6, the ESC has been in Poland setting the stage for nearly a month, said Capt. Nicole Abeyta of the 364th ESC. 

“Our job is to establish command and control of all sustainment units in Poland for AN 16,” she said. “That includes Active, Reserve and National Guard logistics units,” she added. 

Before Anakonda 16 can start, more than 2,500 U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard combat sustainment support Soldiers deployed to Poland must move thousands of pieces of equipment through sea, air and rail ports to specific areas where combat units can easily reach them or have them delivered closer to the front lines. 

Combat units like the 45th FAB, rely on logistics units to move and track the location of the equipment and ammunition it needs to fight. 

“It was actually a great learning experience for me,” said Maj. Kevin R. Dorsey, brigade logistics officer with 45th Field Artillery Brigade and planner for landing the C-5 Galaxy. “I think that the civilians from the airport got something out of it. To see how all of this came together in such a short time; that was also a very beneficial learning experience I think for everybody involved,” he added. 

The C-5 specializes in missions involving outsized and oversized cargo that no other aircraft can carry. It is the largest military aircraft that has landed at Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport in nearly 25 years, according to airport employees.