Third Air Force leaders visit Pathfinders, NATO Joint Warfare Center in Norway

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Avallone
  • 501 CSW/PA

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Derek France, Third Air Force commander, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Stephanie Cates, Third Air Force command chief, visited the 426th Air Base Squadron and the NATO Joint Warfare Centre from Oct. 25 - 26 at Jåttå Military Compound in Stavanger, Norway.  

During an immersion tour, Third Air Force leadership met with American and Norwegian personnel and gained greater insight into the 501st Combat Support Wing mission.

They also used the visit to underscore the importance of the 501st and how it is a key component in defending America’s national security and strategic interests.

“Our focus at Third Air Force is on developing Airmen and their families, delivering air power, and defending the alliance,” said France. “Every Pathfinder within the 501st Combat Support Wing plays an important role in those efforts by providing combat support for U.S. and NATO operations and influencing how we project airpower in Europe.”

This immersion tour coincided with the NATO Joint Warfare Centre’s 20th Anniversary. Numerous military and civilian dignitaries attended the formal celebration which featured speeches, a tour of the facility highlighting the capabilities of the JWC, the unveiling of a NATO signpost, and music by the Norwegian Naval Forces Band.

The JWC is a key part of NATO's footprint in the Northern European region, which includes Scandinavia, the North Sea and the Baltic. Over the past 20 years, the JWC has planned and delivered more than 100 exercises and training events. A premier training establishment at the operational and strategic levels, the JWC is at the forefront of shaping the way NATO trains for the future.

Major General Piotr Malinowski, NATO Joint Warfare Centre Commander, provided welcoming remarks highlighting the JWC’s crucial role in training NATO Command and Force Structure Headquarters and contributing to their ability to conduct full-spectrum, joint operational- and strategic-level warfare as NATO’s footprint in the North.

“The world has changed significantly over these 20 years, presenting us with new and ever-evolving challenges to be identified, analyzed, and then implemented into our work for the Alliance,” said Malinowski. “Our organization has adapted and responded with agility and resolve, providing the best possible products for NATO. We have stood united in the face of adversity and new challenges, transcending borders, and differences to make the world a safer place.”

Malinowski continued with using the 20th anniversary as a reminder of NATO’s shared commitment to peace, security, and humanitarian values. 

“Let us reaffirm our dedication to upholding the NATO principles that have guided us thus far and pledge to work tirelessly toward a future where conflict is minimized, suffering is alleviated, and justice prevails.”