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The 48th Fighter Wing has taken over control of the 85th Group in a largely symbolic ceremony last week at RAF Lakenheath, England.

The 85th Group — a tenant unit of Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, is a component of the U.S. European Command’s Iceland Defense Force. The 85th Group, an independent unit comprised of seven squadrons and 13 staff agencies, had been assigned to the 3rd Air Force.

“The 85th Group’s exceptional duty performance and its importance to the Iceland Defense Force won’t change,” said Maj. Gen. Mike Gould, 3rd Air Force commander, who presided over the ceremony. “The U.S. military’s commitment to our Icelandic allies and their defense won’t change. Having the 85th Group report to the 48th Fighter Wing will simply enhance what is already there.”

Counselors on hand to help last-minute voters

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Voting assistance counselors will be on hand during peak hours at Ramstein Air Base’s Northside Post Office this week to help last-minute voters mail their ballots.

Voters who haven’t received their absentee ballots or have other questions or concerns can talk with counselors from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday.

The counselors will be able to provide Federal Write-In Absentee Ballots to voters who need them, said Maj. Brad Hammant, installation voting assistance officer for Ramstein and other 435th Air Base Wing facilities.

The write-in ballots are in limited supply, so voters will have to go to the post office while counselors are there in order to get one, he said.

U.S. to give Poland $66M to modernize military

WARSAW, Poland — The United States will give Poland some $66 million over the next year to help modernize its armed forces, more than doubling Washington’s military aid this year to a key ally in Iraq, a senior Polish official said Monday.

The Polish military will spend the aid on Humvee armored vehicles and Hercules aircraft meant to improve the security of convoys in Iraq and on other missions, deputy Defense Minister Janusz Zemke told TVN24 television. The aid figure for the fiscal year starting this month compares with less than $30 million in the past year.

“We are in a phase of concrete talks about concrete equipment,” Zemke said.

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