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17th  Air Force
United States Maj. Gen. Ron Ladnier
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Seventeenth Air Force ready for Oct. 1 stand-up

Posted 9/12/2008   Updated 9/12/2008 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Jim Fisher
17th Air Force Public Affairs

9/12/2008 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- United States Air Forces in Europe newest command, Seventeenth Air Force, is ready to go operational, according to the new unit's Commander Maj. Gen. Ron Ladnier. 

The General will be participating in a ceremony to commemorate the unit's stand-up Sept. 18 at Hangar 5 -- the official activation is Oct. 1. 

Seventeenth Air Force, currently designated as Detachment 5, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, will become 17 AF (Air Forces Africa) and serve as the air component for U.S. Africa Command. 

"We've done a lot of work to get to this point and received extensive support from Team Ramstein and our partners in USAFE, [U.S.] EUCOM, and AFRICOM," the General said. "Now we are ready to stand up and begin conducting our Air Component mission thoroughly and effectively in support of AFRICOM." 

As Seventeenth Air Force declares initial operations capability Oct. 1, AFRICOM is elevated from being a sub-unified command under EUCOM to equal status as one of seven of the Department of Defense's unified commands. 

"We will be supporting AFRICOM through command and control of air forces and air power to conduct operations and sustained security engagement so as to promote safety, security and development within the African AOR," General Ladnier explained. 

Safety, security and development are key objectives for AFRICOM. The new command will focus on cooperation and enabling African nations and regional organizations like the African Union to achieve stability on the continent, according to mission information available at www.africom.mil. 

"Like AFRICOM, Seventeenth Air Force is not set up like a traditional combatant command component. It will be geared to continue supporting existing initiatives to help African nations, and fostering cooperation with regional organizations like the African Union and many partners on the continent," General Ladnier explained. "Much of this activity cannot happen without abiding air operations - mobility, logistical and security support--this is where we come in." 

Seventeenth Air Force is comprised of more than 100-plus people working to direct, coordinate and manage air power assets supporting AFRICOM. They expect to be doing this with the support of Team Ramstein for some time to come," according to 17 AF Chief of Staff Col. Keith Cunningham. 

"We are based at Ramstein Air Base on permanent basis, and will benefit from the location's proximity to the African theater of operations and the Air Force's largest strategic air mobility hub," Colonel Cunningham said. "The command has been preparing for activation by working in concert with EUCOM, AFRICOM, CENTCOM, PACOM, USAFE and Team Ramstein. This is a great place for us to be and we are looking forward to achieving many successes here." Historically, this marks the second emergence of the Seventeenth Air Force heritage at Ramstein Air Base, as a previous incarnation of the unit arrived at the base in 1959 and conducted operations here until moving to Sembach in 1972. The 17th lineage and Pegasus shield have a history in Africa, where the unit first stood-up in 1953 in Morocco. The unit has been inactivated since 1996, when its mission ended at Sembach. 

The ceremony begins at 9 a.m., in Hangar 5 and is open to all members of Team Ramstein.

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