17th Air Force, Ready to Go at Ramstein

A ceremony marking the establishment of 17th Air Force, which serves as the air component for US Africa Command, will be held at Ramstein AB, Germany, on Thursday. The numbered air force will officially become operational Oct. 1, the same day that AFRICOM, currently headquartered in Stuttgart, is promoted to a full unified command. (AFRICOM is presently a sub-unified command under US European Command.) Gen. Roger Brady, commander of US Air Forces in Europe, told Air Force magazine the new numbered air force will begin life with about 100 personnel at Ramstein, where the air component will remain for the time being. It will initially share space at the base’s 603rd Air Operations Center, which already services USAFE’s 3rd Air Force. USAFE will begin constructing a new AOC for the 603rd in the near future, and 17th Air Force will likely receive its own AOC at some point further in the future. Brady sees the 17th’s initial missions as focusing on air control, safety, and security. Huge swaths of Africa have limited airfield infrastructure, and the distances that must be traversed can be vast. Up to 286 personnel may eventually work for 17th Air Force, which Brady said would continue to fall under USAFE’s administrative control.