Illinois National Guard bolsters interoperability for V Corps and Polish Army
Soldiers of the 224th Digital Liaison Detachment of the Illinois National Guard stand in formation in Krakow Poland, 25 May, 2022. The 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, Illinois National Guard, provided a valuable information bridge between V Corps and the Polish army during the DEFENDER-Europe 22 exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sean Hall) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Sean Hall) VIEW ORIGINAL

KRAKOW, Poland — The 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, Illinois National Guard, provided a valuable information bridge between V Corps and the Polish army during the DEFENDER-Europe 22 exercise.

The 244th arrived in Poland on May 11 to assist the Victory Corps maintain interoperability and ensure unity of effort with the Polish for the DEFENDER exercise.

Digital Liaison Detachments act as liaisons between military headquarters to allow commanders to integrate military operations in a joint, intergovernmental and multinational environments by providing necessary staff interface, mentoring, support, and communication required for partners and allies to accomplish their missions.

“We help build a bridge between headquarters, so we all have the same understanding of what’s going on and we do that either through face to face meetings or through a computer system that allows us to communicate in a virtual environment,” said Col. Max Casteleyn, commander, 244th Digital Liaison Detachment. “It's all about making sure we operate as one towards our common goals.”

Their efforts resulted in greater cohesion between Polish and American headquarter elements.

"Working with the [digital liasion detachment] has been such a great, cohesive experience,” said Cpt. Denali Ostebo, the tactical area command logistics chief for DEFENDER-Europe 22. “Not only have they served as an important way to bridge the gap between the U.S. and Polish Army sustainers, but also provided a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the logistics world as a whole.”

Illinois National Guard bolsters interoperability for V Corps and Polish Army
Soldiers of the 224th Digital Liaison Detachment of the Illinois National Guard pose for a group photo in Krakow, Poland, 25 May, 2022. The 244th Digital Liaison Detachment provided a valuable information bridge between V Corps and the Polish army during the DEFENDER-Europe 22 exercise. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sean Hall) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Sean Hall) VIEW ORIGINAL

While in Poland, the 244th also provided assistance to the V Corps Headquarters and Headquarters Company wherever there was a need.

“I've never experienced the integration of National Guard working with Active Duty before,” said Staff Sgt. Monn Esalona, NCO, 244th Digital Liaison Detachment. “We're a team and everything is possible if we're working together.”

The 244th Digital Liaison Detachment, Illinois National Guard, has participated in numerous rotations to Poland over the years as part of the partnership program the Illinois National Guard has had with Poland since 1993.

DEFENDER-Europe 22 is a series of U.S. Army Europe and Africa multinational training exercises within U.S. European Command's Large Global Scale Exercise construct taking place in Eastern Europe. DEFENDER-Europe 22 demonstrates V Corps’ ability command and control large scale ground combat operations across multiple theaters in support of NATO and the National Defense Strategy under the direction of U.S. Army Europe and Africa. DEFENDER-Europe 22 activities began in May and will continue through June.

V Corps works alongside NATO allies and regional security partners to provide combat ready forces, execute joint and multinational training exercises to improve interoperability and to ensure an appropriate collective posture of deterrence and defense. V Corps, under the command of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, retains command and control for all rotational and assigned U.S. Army units in the European Theater and currently has operational control of 1st Infantry Division; 2nd Cavalry Regiment; 12th Combat Aviation Brigade; 41st Field Artillery Brigade; and 4th Security Forces Assistance Brigade.