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Jun 27 2022

GENERAL HECKER ASSUMES COMMAND OF NATO'S ALLIED AIR COMMAND

RAMSTEIN, Germany – U.S. Air Force General James B. Hecker assumed command of NATO's Allied Air Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe (USAFE) and U.S. Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA) from General Jeff Harrigian during an official ceremony on June 27, 2022.

Your tenure as Commander has been marked by historic events including the COVID 19 pandemic, Operation Allies Refuge, and the combined NATO-U.S. response to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine

General Harrigian relinquished command to retire after 37 years of distinguished service. In a ceremony attended by many senior military and civilian personnel, General Tod D. Wolters, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), conducted the handover of command after presenting the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to General Harrigian. The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a military decoration, which is presented to United States Armed Forces service members for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to the national security or defense of the United States.

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The official Change of Command ceremony took place on June 27, 2022. Photo: Staff Sergeant Emmeline James
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General Harrigian (right) relinquished command to retire after 37 years of distinguished service. on the left: General Tod D. Wolters. Photo: Staff Sergeant Emmeline James
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In front of a large number of senior military and civilian personnel representing NATO, the United States, host nation Germany and local communities, SACEUR thanked General Harrigian for his service at Allied Air Command. Photo: Staff Sergeant Emmeline James 

In front of a large number of senior military and civilian personnel representing NATO, the United States, host nation Germany and local communities, SACEUR thanked General Harrigian for his three years' service at Allied Air Command.

"Today we farewell a great aviator and leader. Your tenure as Commander has been marked by historic events including the COVID 19 pandemic, Operation Allies Refuge, and the combined NATO-U.S. response to the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine; you have brilliantly met every challenge. Your exceptional vision, personal determination and the extensive collaboration with our Allies and partners around the globe have been key to the success achieved," said Wolters.

During General Harrigian's time as the Commander of Allied Air Command, he has overseen the establishment of the NATO Space Centre, developed 4th/5th generation integration and constantly innovated to shape the future.

"It has been my privilege to work alongside so many dedicated and professional service members during my time here in Germany," said General Harrigian. "I have been impressed every day with what we collectively achieve as one team and I know that our superb cooperation with Allied and Partner nations is due to the hard work of the men and women standing in front of me. I thank you for your loyalty, diligence and determination to make a difference."

General Wolters then welcomed the incoming commander to this important position.

General Hecker arrived at Ramstein from his previous assignment as the Commander and President of the United States Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama.

Story by Allied Air Command Public Affairs Office

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