Polish senators visit Vandenberg
By Maj. Tina Barber-Matthew , Chief of 30th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 29, 2007
VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Officials at Vandenberg hosted three senators of the Republic of Poland on June 29 as part of the U.S. State Department's International Visitor Leadership Program.
Senators Franciszek Adamczyk, Czeslaw Rybka and Ludwik Zalewsk began their 10-day visit to the Untied States in Washington D.C. and arrived in California June 28.
The group started their morning here with visits to the Missile Defense Agency's Ground-Based Midcourse Defense office where they received briefings and tours of the West Coast facilities.
"We were able to get an impression of what MDA really is," said Senator Adamczyk, chair of the Polish Senate Defense Committee. "This was an opportunity to see it on the ground and we now see what we are talking about. It means more during our parliament discussion."
Local community members Bob Hatch and Denny Anderson joined the senators for lunch to discuss community-military relations. Senator Zalewski spoke with them through an interpreter.
"Our local communities like having the Army stationed near by," the Polish senator said.
Poland's army has experienced manning cuts similar to what the Air Force is currently seeing and this causes strain on the economy in those communities surrounding bases.
"This was a very interesting lunch," Mr. Anderson said. "We covered everything from education systems to being a Euro nation and how it's changing Poland as a country. It effects everything from education to their economy."
From Vandenberg the senators will travel to Chicago to visit with National Guard members in an effort to bench-mark off the U.S. total force concept.
"We are changing and modernizing our Army," Senator Adamczyk said. "We will visit the National Guard and see how they operate and what (ideas) we can take to Poland with us."
Regarding the significance of the visit, Senator Adamczyk said, "after joining NATO, we are close allies with the U.S. This visit strengthens the alliance between the U.S. and Poland."