Change at the helm of NATO’s Northern CAOC
RAMSTEIN, Germany – General Tod Wolters, Commander of NATO's Allied Air Command on Friday officiated the formal handover of the command of Combined Air Operations Centre (CAOC) Uedem from Belgian Major General Thierry Dupont to German Lieutenant General Joachim Wundrak.
For almost two years, Major General Dupont had been the first Belgian commander of CAOC Uedem, a multinational NATO air command and control entity responsible for 24/7 Air Policing in the airspace of fourteen Allies' covering an area of 4 million square kilometres. General Wolters highlighted General Dupont's achievements and thanked him for his great contribution. "This Change of Command is important, because it is people that make the difference," General Wolters said. "We have great people, great hardware and great software and a great calibre of our commanders to take care of the move from assurance to deterrence north of the Alps for NATO and Allied Air Command," he added.
"Every day at the CAOC has been an honour serving our great Alliance; Uedem has been at the forefront north of the Alps for Allied Air Command ensuring control of standing NATO missions, exercises and operations," General Dupont said looking back at his tenure at the helm of the CAOC, the highest position for a Belgian Air Force officer in NATO. He thanked his staff and the Allied Air Command leadership for their constant and excellent support.
General Dupont's successor, German Air Force Lieutenant General Joachim Wundrak, has also been his predecessor. General Wundrak assumes command of the CAOC for six months based on the rotational arrangement that exists between Germany and Belgium. "When I handed over to General Dupont almost two years ago I told him that he would take over the best CAOC," General Wundrak said. "Today I am taking over an even better CAOC," he added. Lieutenant General Wundrak is triple-hatted as the Commander of CAOC Uedem, Commander of the German Air Operations Command and Executive Director of the Joint Air Power Competence Centre, both at Kalkar, a few kilometres away of CAOC Uedem.
The CAOC at Uedem and its sister unit at Torrejon answer to Allied Air Command at Ramstein, Germany, and execute NATO's 24/7 peacetime mission of Air Policing, safeguarding the European Allies' airspace. On a daily basis the CAOCs decide on launching so-called Quick Reaction Alert Intercept fighter jets to respond to unidentified aircraft or emergencies in the air. They ensure safety and integrity of Allied airspace from northern Norway to southern Italy and from the Azores to eastern Turkey.
Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office