Lajes Becomes Group-Level Organization

The 65th Air Base Wing at Lajes Field in the Portuguese Azores redesignated on Aug. 14 as a group in line with ongoing efforts to streamline base manning and services. “This is not a shift in the commitment of the United States to the Portuguese people,” said Lt. Gen. Timothy Ray, 3rd Air Force-17th Expeditionary Air Force commander, in a release. Portugal “is an incredible strategic partner and we remain committed to that relationship, both as a bilateral friend and ally, and as part of the NATO Alliance,” he added. The rechristened 65th Air Base Group now falls under the administrative control of the 86th Airlift Wing at Ramstein AB, Germany, according to officials. Lajes retains its air traffic control and crash and fire rescue capabilities, but will reduce normal flightline operations to eight hours a day as part of the Defense Department’s overall European Infrastructure Consolidation plan.