The Pentagon said Wednesday it plans to send a U.S. Air Force detachment to Poland to support fighter jets and transport planes, marking the first time that U.S. soldiers have been stationed there.
The announcement was made at the end of talks between Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his Polish counterpart, Tomasz Siemoniak.
The detachment "will arrive this fall to support quarterly F-16 and C-130 deployments beginning in 2013 and will be the first U.S. forces stationed on Polish soil," Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement.
"The arrival of this detachment will mark a new step forward in the relationship between United States and Poland and enable closer military cooperation."
U.S. F-16 fighters and C-130 transport aircraft are to be deployed in Poland on a rotating basis as of next year, the statement said.
The ministers also discussed Poland's contribution to the international force in Afghanistan, where nearly 2,500 Polish troops are stationed in the eastern province of Ghazni, and Warsaw's participation in NATO missile defense.
Poland and Romania are each expected to host a ballistic missile interceptor site by 2018. Turkey is to host an early warning radar system.