NATO, U.S. command SELs visit Romania

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Michael Battles
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

Key command senior enlisted leaders from the U. S. Air Force, NATO Allied Air Command and the Belgian Air Force toured several installations throughout Romania during a three-day visit to see firsthand the strategic impact the bases have on the overall mission of NATO, May 10-12, 2022.

Hosted by the Forţele Aeriene Române command SEL Plutonier Adjudant Daniel-Narcis Simpetru, the visit afforded his command SEL counterparts an opportunity to engage directly with Romanian Air Force leadership, visit deployed NATO members and see the multinational operational efforts of the NATO alliance. Simpetru’s senior enlisted counterparts include Royal Air Force Chief Warrant Officer Sara Catterall, NATO's Allied Air Command; U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin Hedden, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa; and Belgian Air Force Adjutant-Major Luc Braeken.

“These types of trips are critical to the overall relationships we are building with our NATO partners,” Hedden said. “Romania plays a large role in our strategic positioning and it’s great that we are here seeing firsthand how the NATO alliance is coming together to effectively
accomplish the multinational operational efforts of the organization.”

Hedden also stated that we could not do what we do as a force without the commitment of our allies and partners.

“We’ve visited several installations on this trip, and at every turn there are several multinational services working together hand-in-hand to accomplish the mission,” he said. “It’s amazing to watch the alliance effectively accomplish a common goal, do it seamlessly, and come back the next day to do it all over again.”

As part of the visit, the CSELs met with deployed members of the NATO alliance from the U.S., Italy, Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom.

Catterall stated that the reason the mission is so successful in Romania is due to the efforts of the multinational service members supporting the mission.

“We must consider the benefit in deployed service members from multiple nations working side by side with our host nation allies,” she said. “Our people and our shared values are the very heart of NATO. By serving together, our teams are learning from one another and gaining invaluable experience.  Growing together builds a deeper trust and commitment to one another. One Team!”

In addition to visiting deployed members, the enlisted leaders visited Boboc Air Base’s training school to meet with the Romanian Air Force’s newest command chiefs and enlisted trainees to get an understanding of the enlisted development process.

“As a force, we value our enlisted members and it makes our militaries stronger…it makes NATO stronger,” Catterall said to the graduates during the visit. “You are the future of our military, the future leaders, and the future of NATO.”

Catterall also added that the NATO alliance overall is as strong as it is due to the commitment of its members.

“WE are NATO!” she said. “An important distinction when understanding the goals we are trying to achieve is our strength which comes from mutual trust and commitment to one another, built overtime with an ability to understand and leverage our unique differences. Stronger together, we are an alliance that thrives because the total is greater than the sum of its parts."