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Jul 30 2021

Geilenkirchen welcomes new commanders for AWACS Team

RAMSTEIN, Germany – NATO's AWACS force and component hosted a change of command ceremony at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany July 29, 2021.

At the helm of the NATO Airborne Early Warning & Control Force (NAEW&CF) Major General Jörg W. Lebert, German Air Force, relinquished command to Major General Thomas E. Kunkel, U.S. Air Force.

To family members and friends, you are essential to our mission success.

"To family members and friends, you are essential to our mission success. Through early mornings, long hours, and deployments you are a source of strength. Thank you for supporting the men and women of the force – who could not do what they do without you," said Major General Thomas E. Kunkel.

At the same time, Brigadier General Charles B. McDaniel, U.S. Air Force, relinquished command of the NAEW&CF E-3A Component to Brigadier General Stefan W. Neumann, German Air Force.

"Let me thank General McDaniel for an excellent handing over of the official business. You prepared me very well indeed for my new and demanding task," said Brigadier General Stefan W. Neumann.

The NAEWCF has two units with operational capability: The NATO E-3A Component in Geilenkirchen, Germany, with 16 E-3A aircraft, and the E-3D Component of the Royal Air Force (RAF) in Waddington, UK, with six E-3D aircraft crewed solely by RAF personnel. Seventeen NATO member nations participate in the NAEWCF programme: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Fifteen of these nations provide military personnel to the E-3A Component; while Luxembourg does not provide military personnel, the UK flies its own E-3D aircraft.

The NAEWCF is a high readiness force that excels in its responsiveness, agility and flexibility. It has always been one of the immediate readiness elements of the NATO Response Force and will naturally be a leading element of the Air contribution to the Very-High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF).

The E-3A aircraft with its characteristic radar on the fuselage are highly visible NATO assets contributing to the Alliance's deterrence and defence through surveillance missions, airborne warning and control and battle management. They fly frequently in support of multinational exercises and are tied into NATO's ground-based air surveillance and control architecture.

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Brigadier General Charles B. McDaniel, U.S. Air Force, relinquished command of the NAEW&CF E-3A Component to Brigadier General Stefan W. Neumann, German Air Force.
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Major General Thomas E. Kunkel gives remarks after assuming command at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany. 
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NATO's AWACS force and component hosted a change of command ceremony at Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany July 29, 2021.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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