On Monday, Mariusz Błaszczak met with a US delegation led by the Governor of the State of Illinois Bruce Rauner at the Minstry of National Defence in Warsaw. The meeting took place on the 25th anniversary of bilateral cooperation between the Illinois National Guard and the Polish Armed Forces and State Partnership Program with Poland.
Mariusz Błaszczak emphasized that Polish-American cooperation has a long history and started when our countries fought for independence.
- Today, Poland is a NATO member, thanks to the support of the USA. It was possible thanks to our cooperation with the Illinois National Guard, which lasts 25 years and results in training and exchange of experience. This cooperation brings benefits every day – emphasized Polish Defence Minister.
Minister Mariusz Błaszczak thanked the US partners for cooperation in creation of the Territorial Defense Forces.
Governor of Illinois Bruce Rauner pointed out that there is no stronger partnership and friendship than the one that connects Illinois citizens and Poles. - I would like to thank you for your service for democracy and freedom. We are very proud that in Illinois is such a "headquarters" of Polonia. (...) we are here to continue our cooperation - said B. Rauner.
State of Illinois Gubernatorial Proclamation
In 1993, both Army and Air components of the Illinois National Guard established a State Partnership Program with the Republic of Poland. This program has flourished for 25 years, becoming the U.S. National Guard's premier state partnership.
The State Partnership Program with Poland has teamed thousands of Polish military members with thousands of Illinois National Guard Soldiers, Airmen, and Interagency Partners for more than two decades, helping the Republic of Poland continue to flourish as a beacon of democracy and a defender of freedom.
Polish and Illinois National Guard Soldiers fought together in Iraq and continue to fight together in Afghanistan, sharing the rigors and challenges of combat side by side since 2003.
The Polish Air Force and the Citizen Airmen of the Illinois Air National Guard, through key interfly training missions, exchanges, and enduring relationships, have facilitated the transition of the Polish Air Force, thereby fostering long-term strategic objectives and building upon a cross-generational dynamic between two great nations.
Through relationship continuity and numerous exchanges, exercising similar components of the Total Force warfighting structure to improve interoperability with NATO forces, this partnership continues to build interoperability and synergy of warfighting forces.
The Army and Air components of the Illinois National Guard and the Polish Armed Forces have built a genuine partnership, creating long-term personal relationships based on openness, confidence and trust.
From its inception, this dynamic partnership keeps building enduring military-to-military, military-to-civilian, and civilian-to-civilian relationships, all of which enhance long term international security.
Through a unity of effort, the Polish Armed Forces and the Illinois National Guard contribute to tangible improvements and are strategically placed as a driving force in regional capability and capacity-building.
The State Partnership Program serves as a key security cooperation tool, facilitating interaction in all aspects of civil and military collaboration among the United States, the State of Illinois, and the Republic of Poland, contributing to stability and economic prosperity in the region.
Thousands of Illinois residents celebrate Polish Armed Forces Day on August 15 each year, commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, also known as the Miracle at the Vistula, a decisive Polish victory in 1920 in the Polish-Soviet War that saved Poland's independence.
Polish-born Soldiers such as Casimir Pulaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko fought side by side with Patriots during the American Revolution, helping the United States gain its independence from Britain.
Therefore I, Bruce Rauner, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim August 15, 2018, as STATE PARTNERSHIP PROGRAM WITH POLAND DAY in Illinois in grateful recognition of 25 years of bilateral cooperation between the Illinois National Guard and the Polish Armed Forces.