"Today's ceremony concludes another successful rotation of NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission in Lithuania demonstrating NATO's unity, resolve and solidarity and integrity of the Baltic Allies," said United States Air Force General Jeffrey Harrigian, Commander of NATO's Allied Air Command during his remarks. He commended the outgoing Hungarian and Spanish detachment for "truly great operations by great airmen" and invited the incoming Belgian and Danish detachments to underline "we are collectively ready and responsive, determined to maintain our freedom and security".
The Hungarian Air Force accomplished their mission leading the 50th rotation of Allies at Šiauliai Air Base together with augmenting nation Spain. Incoming nations Belgium and Denmark are the two Allies that were first and second in 2004 to commence what became a long sequence of rations to safeguard the airspace in the Baltic Sea region. As they take over the peacetime defensive mission they will continue executing at the high standard demonstrated by their predecessors.
"Let me assure, that NATO's Air Policing mission will continue to be as important to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as ever, and we
will continue to support Allied troops here," said Lithuanian Vice-Minister of National Defence, Vytautas Umbrasas in his opening remarks. "Your efforts do not only contribute to safety of civilian aviation; you are the guardians of integrity of the Alliance. Your service is instrumental for credible deterrence and peace in this region and the whole of Alliance," he added welcoming the incoming detachments.
We are collectively ready and responsive, determined to maintain our freedom and security
Allied Air Command is responsible for NATO's Air Policing mission, a peacetime mission safeguarding the Allies' airspace. Planning, direction and task coordination for the mission is provided by its two Combined Air Operations Centres (CAOCs) at Uedem, Germany, and Torrejon, Spain. CAOC Uedem is regionally responsible for Baltic Air Policing.