U.S. Air Forces in Europe

A US Airman waits to offload the final pallets from the cargo aircraft which arrived in Russia from Sigonella delivering firefighting equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Keith Houin provided in real time via smartphone/RELEASED)

Headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), is a major air force command and also EUCOM’s primary air component, planning and executing air and space operations in Europe and Asia to achieve NATO and U.S. objectives based on the EUCOM commander’s taskings.  

During most of the Cold War, USAFE was a fight-in-place force postured for a large-scale conflict. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, it has transitioned to an air expeditionary force with mobile, deployable people and resources that can simultaneously operate in multiple locations, able to conduct warfighting, humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, and other non-traditional contingencies. In peacetime, USAFE trains and equips NATO-affiliated Air Force units, also maintaining combat-ready units based from the United Kingdom to Turkey, and assets ready to perform close air support, air interdiction, air defense, in-flight refueling, long-range transport and maritime operation support. Despite a 67 percent drawdown of its main operating bases after the Cold War, USAFE remains a highly responsive and capable combat force.

More than 39,000 active-duty, reserve, Air National Guard and civilian employees are assigned to USAFE, and equipment assets include more than 200 fighter, attack, rotary wing, tanker, and transport aircraft, and a full complement of conventional weapons.

USAFE consists of two numbered air forces, seven main operating bases and 114 geographically separated locations. The USAFE primary operating bases are: Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom; Royal Air Force Mildenhall, United Kingdom; Ramstein Air Base, Germany; Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany; Aviano Air Base, Italy; Lajes Air Base, the Azores; and Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

For day-to-day and contingency operations, these bases report to Ramstein's Third Air Force, which supports EUCOM. It is USAFE's component numbered Air Force that maintains continuous theater-wide situational awareness.

For more information, visit USAFE’s Web site: http://www.usafe.af.mil/

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