Unfortunately, my time as your commander has come to an end. Sharon and I are grateful to have served with you here in Europe in pursuit of our national and NATO alliance aspirations.
Over the past three years together, we executed our standing missions, integrated emerging technology to meet emerging threats, brought the Headquarters to Full Operational Capability, and met the aspirations of the Wales Summit. Crimea, Ukraine, ISIS, Libya just to name a few, along with the rise of home-grown terrorism, required significant NATO Air contributions to assurance, deterrence, peace and stability. Applying full effort to the aggressive exercise program, bolstering Air Policing capacity, integrating air mindedness into concepts of operations and Graduated Response Plans, and bringing to initial operational capability the Ballistic Missile Defense design are other significant contributions made by AIRCOM during my tenure. NATO Air is on a good course.
The last three years was a vivid reminder of the volatility of the world. No one predicted these tragic events because NO ONE can ever possibly know what will happen in the future. But the one thing we know for sure … if our alliance chooses to respond, NATO Air will be first in and last out. Therefore, we must be ready when our alliance calls.
Forty-one years ago, at the age of 17, I showed up at the Air Force Academy. Now, after 37 years of active duty service, in the blink of an eye, I am retiring. Where did the time go? I don’t know, but I want you to know that I relished each and every day because of you. You inspired me every day. I am so proud of you! It was fun!
It was an honor and a privilege to be your commander. The legacy of NATO rests in your hands now. NATO has been a force for decades bringing peace and stability to Europe and the world. The NATO air legacy now rests in your hands. The time has come for me to leave this NATO success story… this is your story now! Be amazing!
General Frank Gorenc