RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian took command of both U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command from Gen. Tod D. Wolters during a ceremony here May 1.
As the new commander of USAFE-AFAFRICA, Harrigian is responsible for the full-spectrum of Air Force war-fighting capabilities supporting two combatant commands, which possess more than one-fifth of the world's population.
“Our NATO Alliance, the oldest and most successful in history, relies on U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command to preserve peace and stability in these challenging times. … In many ways your commands represent hope during troubled times, just as they always have,” said U.S. Air Force Gen. David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force.
Wolters is slated to become commander of European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, succeeding U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti.
“Under (Wolter’s) leadership, 37,000 total force and civilian Airmen came together as a clenched fist – lethal, agile, highly respected, and always ready. With our partners they trained to be an interoperable and inseparable combined team,” said Goldfein. “We arm our diplomats with executable military options so they can negotiate from a position of strength and make the world a better place for our children and for our grandchildren. We bring hope. It’s our calling.”
“When it came time to pick the next commander to continue the legacy, Gen. Jeff “Cobra” Harrigian, was the obvious choice. He brings the perfect blend of operational expertise and proven combat leadership to take this team to new heights. … Cobra is a combat-proven leader I admire,” said Goldfein.
With nearly 34 years of service following graduation from the U.S. Air Force Academy, Harrigian brings with him the breadth and depth of experiences of a combat fighter pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, having flown combat missions in support of Operation Just Cause, Operation Desert Storm and Operation Inherent Resolve.
During his remarks, Scaparrotti commended Harrigian’s qualifications for command.
“After having worked with (Harrigian) over the past eight months, I can attest that he’s the right combination of knowledge, experience, and strategic vision for this job,” he said.
As the air component for both EUCOM and AFRICOM, USAFE-AFAFRICA executes the Air Force, EUCOM and U.S. Africa Command missions with forward-based airpower and infrastructure to conduct and enable theater and global operations.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, USAFRICOM commander, highlighted the accomplishments of the Airmen under Wolter’s leadership.
“During General Wolters’ tenure, the men and women of Air Forces Africa overcame many challenges to strengthen partnerships, enhance partner capabilities, and provide enablers necessary to promote security, stability and prosperity on the African continent,” said Waldhauser.
Harrigian, who served as the USAFE-AFAFRICA deputy commander for the past seven months, has witnessed, first-hand, the complex and diverse set of challenges in both the European and African theaters.
“(Harrigian) brings an impressive resume of leadership, Airmanship, and the expertise to sustain American influence on the African continent while assisting our partners in strengthening their own airpower institutions to address crises on their own,” Waldhauser added.
Harrigian is the 36th USAFE-AFAFRICA commander since the Air Force became a separate service in 1947.
In closing his remarks, Goldfein offered words of wisdom for the new commander.
“At the end of the day, our job as commanders is to take our nation’s most lethal assets – our men and women in uniform like those in formation today, and mold them, train them, pair them with the best technology on the planet to make the world a better place,” Goldfein said.
Harrigian ended the ceremony with brief remarks to his new commands.
“I am committed to giving you my all. I am fired up to work with each and every one of you. This is our opportunity to make a difference and a chance to put our stamp on history…Let’s get after it.”