Africa Air Component Shift

US Air Forces in Europe assumed the role of Air Forces Africa, the air component for US Africa Command, with the inactivation of 17th Air Force during a ceremony at Ramstein AB, Germany. “As we get ready to case the colors and close this chapter of 17th Air Force history, I need to remind everyone of one very important thing: the mission is not going away,” said USAFE Commander Gen. Mark Welsh during the April 20 ceremony. He continued, “There are still operations to conduct and partnerships to strengthen. The unstable regions of Africa are not suddenly stable. The commitments made to leaders in Africa must be honored.” Army Gen. Carter Ham, AFRICOM commander, also attended the event. The Air Force activated 17th AF in October 2008. The numbered air force conducted more than 200 outreach engagements with 36 partner nations in Africa during its tenure, according to Ramstein officials. Its most momentous accomplishment may have been its role in managing the air campaign over Libya last year. (Ramstein report by MSgt. Jim Fisher)