SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – The commander of U.S. European Command and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe visited with Airmen here Dec. 14 as part of a familiarization tour.
U.S. Navy Adm. Jim Stavridis saw the unique capabilities the 52nd Fighter Wing provides to the European theater of operations and learned about some of the wing’s accomplishments this year.
“Here at Spangdahlem, we have a wonderful example that we can show to the 51 different countries in U.S. European Command – the vast majority of which have air forces,” he said about the base earning the 2011 Air Force Installation Excellence Award. “They can come to a place like Spangdahlem and have an opportunity to see the very best in installation management, and I’m just so proud of what’s been accomplished here.”
During the visit, pilots and maintainers of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft briefed the admiral about Spangdahlem’s weapon systems and how those systems allow Saber Airmen to provide combat power to the current fight.
The wing supported Operation Odyssey Dawn, NATO’s operations in Libya earlier this year. Stavridis said Spangdahlem’s F-16, A-10 and mobility operations all combined to form a part of the global air capability the United States is known for delivering.
“In terms of Libya, this is where the first flights were launched, we saw the suppression of enemy air defense and above all, these great Airmen forward deployed into Italy to continue that mission,” Stavridis said. “They did terrific work.”
While EUCOM’s overall mission involves conducting military operations and partnering with international military and interagency departments to defend the United States forward, Stavridis said there is more he wants Airmen to think about during their day-to-day operations.
“One thing I really admire about how we do business here is we deliver combat capability, we support partnership building with all of our European allies and we also deliver a wonderful environment for our families,” he said. “So, we do combat, we prepare to partner in the international world, and we take care of our families.
“That’s our mission,” he continued.
More than 100,000 military and Department of Defense civilian employees work for the command, and Stavridis thanked them all for their hard work in the effort to secure enduring stability in Europe and Eurasia.
“To all of our great Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and outstanding DoD civilians – have a wonderful holiday,” he said. “I give thanks every single day that I get to work in Europe with great members of the Department of Defense, and I’m very proud today to be in Spangdahlem, Germany, with my Airmen.”