Seventeenth Air Force goes operational

U.S. African Command Commander Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward (left) bestows the Seventeenth Air Force guidon to its new commander, Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ladnier, in a Sept. 18 assumption of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Seventeenth Air Force, which officially activates Oct. 1, will serve as the air component for U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston)(Released)

U.S. African Command Commander Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward (left) bestows the Seventeenth Air Force guidon to its new commander, Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ladnier, in a Sept. 18 assumption of command ceremony at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Seventeenth Air Force, which officially activates Oct. 1, will serve as the air component for U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston)(Released)

U.S. African Command Commander Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward (left) and Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ladnier, commander of Seventeenth Air Force, salute the colors as the national anthem is sung during an assumption of command ceremony Sept. 18 at Ramstein Air base, Germany. General Ladnier took the guidon for Seventeenth Air Force, which officially activates Oct. 1 and will serve as the air component for U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tony R. Ritter)(Released)

U.S. African Command Commander Army Gen. William E. "Kip" Ward (left) and Air Force Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ladnier, commander of Seventeenth Air Force, salute the colors as the national anthem is sung during an assumption of command ceremony Sept. 18 at Ramstein Air base, Germany. General Ladnier took the guidon for Seventeenth Air Force, which officially activates Oct. 1 and will serve as the air component for U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tony R. Ritter)(Released)

RAMSTEIN AIR FORCE BASE, Germany -- U.S. Air Forces in Europe's newest command, Seventeenth Air Force, is ready to go operational, according to the new unit's commander, Maj. Gen. Ron Ladnier.
The general will be participating in a ceremony to commemorate the unit's stand-up Thursday at Hangar 5. The official activation is Oct. 1.

17th AF, currently designated as Detachment 5, USAFE, will become 17 AF (Air Forces Africa) and serve as the air component for U.S. Africa Command.

"We've done a lot of work to get to this point and received extensive support from Team Ramstein and our partners in USAFE, [U.S.] EUCOM, and AFRICOM," General Ladnier said. "Now we are ready to stand up and begin conducting our Air
Component mission thoroughly and effectively in support of AFRICOM."

As 17th AF declares initial operations capability Oct. 1, AFRICOM is elevated from being a sub-unified command under EUCOM to equal status as one of seven of the Department of Defense's unified commands.

"We will be supporting AFRICOM through command and control of air forces and air power to conduct operations and sustained security engagement so as to promote safety, security and development within the African AOR," General Ladnier said.
Safety, security and development are key objectives for AFRICOM. The new command will focus on cooperation and enabling African nations and regional organizations like the African Union to achieve stability on the continent, according to mission information available at www.africom.mil.

"Like AFRICOM, 17th Air Force is not set up like a traditional combatant command component. It will be geared to continue supporting existing initiatives to help African nations, and fostering cooperation with regional organizations like the African Union and many partners on the continent," General Ladnier explained.

"Much of this activity cannot happen without abiding air operations - mobility, logistical and security support - this is where we come in."

17th AF is comprised of more than 100 people working to direct, coordinate and manage air power assets supporting AFRICOM. They expect to be doing this with the support of Team Ramstein for some time to come," said Col. Keith Cunningham, 17th AF chief of staff.

"We are based at Ramstein Air Base on permanent basis, and will benefit from the location's proximity to the African theater of operations and the Air Force's largest strategic air mobility hub," Colonel Cunningham said. "The command has been preparing for activation by working in concert with EUCOM, AFRICOM, CENTCOM, PACOM, USAFE and Team Ramstein. This is a great place for us to be and we are
looking forward to achieving many successes here."

Historically, this marks the second emergence of the 17th AF heritage at Ramstein; a previous incarnation of the unit arrived at the base in 1959 and conducted operations here until moving to Sembach in 1972. The 17th lineage and Pegasus shield have a history in Africa, where the unit first stood up in 1953 in Morocco. The unit has been inactivated since 1996, when its mission ended at Sembach. 

U.S. Air Forces in Europe's newest command, Seventeenth Air Force, is ready to go operational, according to the new unit's commander, Maj. Gen. Ron Ladnier.
The general will be participating in a ceremony to commemorate the unit's stand-up Thursday at Hangar 5. The official activation is Oct. 1.

17th AF, currently designated as Detachment 5, USAFE, will become 17 AF (Air Forces Africa) and serve as the air component for U.S. Africa Command.

"We've done a lot of work to get to this point and received extensive support from Team Ramstein and our partners in USAFE, [U.S.] EUCOM, and AFRICOM," General Ladnier said. "Now we are ready to stand up and begin conducting our Air
Component mission thoroughly and effectively in support of AFRICOM."

As 17th AF declares initial operations capability Oct. 1, AFRICOM is elevated from being a sub-unified command under EUCOM to equal status as one of seven of the Department of Defense's unified commands.

"We will be supporting AFRICOM through command and control of air forces and air power to conduct operations and sustained security engagement so as to promote safety, security and development within the African AOR," General Ladnier said.
Safety, security and development are key objectives for AFRICOM. The new command will focus on cooperation and enabling African nations and regional organizations like the African Union to achieve stability on the continent, according to mission information available at www.africom.mil.

"Like AFRICOM, 17th Air Force is not set up like a traditional combatant command component. It will be geared to continue supporting existing initiatives to help African nations, and fostering cooperation with regional organizations like the African Union and many partners on the continent," General Ladnier explained.

"Much of this activity cannot happen without abiding air operations - mobility, logistical and security support - this is where we come in."

17th AF is comprised of more than 100 people working to direct, coordinate and manage air power assets supporting AFRICOM. They expect to be doing this with the support of Team Ramstein for some time to come," said Col. Keith Cunningham, 17th AF chief of staff.

"We are based at Ramstein Air Base on permanent basis, and will benefit from the location's proximity to the African theater of operations and the Air Force's largest strategic air mobility hub," Colonel Cunningham said. "The command has been preparing for activation by working in concert with EUCOM, AFRICOM, CENTCOM, PACOM, USAFE and Team Ramstein. This is a great place for us to be and we are
looking forward to achieving many successes here."

Historically, this marks the second emergence of the 17th AF heritage at Ramstein; a previous incarnation of the unit arrived at the base in 1959 and conducted operations here until moving to Sembach in 1972. The 17th lineage and Pegasus shield have a history in Africa, where the unit first stood up in 1953 in Morocco. The unit has been inactivated since 1996, when its mission ended at Sembach.

The ceremony begins at 9 a.m. Thursday in Hangar 5 and is open to all members of Team Ramstein.