Fifteen U.S. soldiers represented the Illinois National Guard and United States Army Europe in the annual Multinational Soldiers March from Warsaw to Czestochowa on August 3-14 2010. The 300-kilometer march is an annual event sponsored by the Polish Land Forces, which celebrates the Polish victory over Sweden in the 17th century. According to local belief, the icon of the Black Madonna at Czestochowa is credited with turning back the Swedes.
The Illinois National Guard is comprised of approximately 10,000 Army National Guard members and approximately 3200 Air National Guard members. Since 1993, the Illinois National Guard and Polish Armed Forces have participated in a partnership program that provides for the sharing of ideas between two nations.
Poland utilizes U.S. support to help transform and modernize the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland. It receives the most U.S. Foreign Military Financing (FMF) assistance in the region, and is the sixth largest FMF recipient in the world. To date, this includes over $285 million in direct FMF grants and more than $3.9 billion in FMF loans. Additionally, Poland has received more than $31 million dollars under the Combined Education Training Program (CETP), which includes the International Military Education Training (IMET) Program, Military to Military (M2M) Program, the State Partnership Program (SPP) and Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP).