CHICAGO — The Illinois National Guard and Poland’s military are marking 25 years of cooperation that began in the years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

A State Partnership Program between Poland and the Illinois National Guard started in 1993.

A statement from the Illinois governor’s office says the state has played a major role in upgrading Poland’s air force. Air National Guard pilots flew the first F-16 to Poland as the Warsaw Pact country-turned-NATO member modernized its military.

Illinois National Guard Major General Richard Hayes first worked with Polish soldiers in 1999. He says the sides “have forged a powerful and undying level of trust.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office says he met top officials at Poland’s defense ministry in Warsaw on Monday and proclaimed it State Partnership Day in Illinois.