US Air Force crewmen were forced to live and train under unusually harsh conditions during their stay at Poland's Powidz Air Base, being cut off from running water, hot meals, and indoor toilets, the media outlet Defence News reported, citing US Colonel Donn Yates, the commander of the 4th Fighter Wing.
Such conditions were imposed on them deliberately, as Yates sought to provide his soldiers with "field"-like experience. According to the media outlet, such "Spartan conditions" are used to prepare soldiers for operations in conflicts with a "near-peer adversary" like Russia or China.
"The more it sucks out here — and you’re eating MREs [Meals Ready-to-Eat] and you’re pooping out in the Porta-John — the higher the morale is. We had people out in Poland sleeping in hammocks and stuff, not because we had to but because I wanted them to feel what it is like to live in the field", Yates said.
The crewmen were also trained in resolving everyday problems, such as maintenance and repairing damaged jets, forcing them to be creative. Namely, members of the 4th Fighter Wing had to cut their request for F-15 spare parts in half after finding several solutions to optimise repairs.
The latest US National Defence Strategy, adopted last year, named China and Russia as the two most probable adversaries with whom Washington could fight a war in the future. The White House specifically exploited the idea of potential "Russian aggression" to boost its military presence and conduct regular drills in Europe.
Moscow, in turn, has repeatedly called on Washington to instead establish constructive dialogue and mend relations, as well as slammed some recent US initiatives, such as its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, as harmful for global stability.