Hinds Nominated to Be New Deputy Commander at USAFE

Maj. Gen. Jason T. Hinds has been nominated for a third star and to take over as deputy commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, the Pentagon announced May 8. 

If confirmed, Hinds would be the No. 2 behind Gen. James B. Hecker, who heads USAFE-AFAFRICA, as well as NATO Allied Air Command. He would succeed Lt. Gen. John D. Lamontagne, who has held the job since July 2022.  

Hinds has been director of operations for U.S. European Command since July 2023. Prior to that, he held two different jobs at USAFE-AFAFRICA headquarters. 

An F-15 and F-22 pilot by trade, Hinds has commanded at the squadron and wing level at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. He also had a stint as vice commander of the 57th Wing at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., and time in the Pentagon as the senior military assistant to the undersecretary of the Air Force and the senior Air Force advisor for force development to the undersecretary of defense for policy. 

Europe has been a busy region since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago. The Air Force has been rotating fighters through eastern Europe as part of the NATO Air Policing mission to monitor the alliance’s eastern flank against Russia. Just a few days ago, U.S. European Command kicked off the Astral Knight 2024 exercise, which focuses on Integrated Air and Missile Defense (IAMD). Nearly 5,000 personnel and 50 aircraft from six countries are taking part. 

USAFE is seeking to more closely integrate with allies as more European nations buy F-35 fighters. Hundreds of the aircraft are expected to be operational on the continent in the next several years. 

While Hinds will now await confirmation from the Senate, a slew of Air Force nominations were approved last week, including:

  • Maj. Gen. Stephen F. Jost, to get a third a third star and lead U.S. Forces Japan and the 5th Air Force;
  • Maj. Gen. Case A. Cunningham, to get a third star and lead Alaskan Command and the 11th Air Force.

And some 30 colonels who were confirmed to become brigadier generals: 

  • Col. John A. Cluck 
  • Col. Jack R. Arthaud 
  • Col. Anthony D. Babcock 
  • Col. Ariel G. Batungbacal 
  • Col. Cassius T. Bentley III 
  • Col. Michael D. Curry 
  • Col. Lindsay C. Droz 
  • Col. Mason R. Dula 
  • Col. Todd R. Dyer 
  • Col. Travis L. Edwards 
  • Col. Chad R. Ellsworth 
  • Col. Paul G. Filcek 
  • Col. Brian A. Filler 
  • Col. John B. Gallemore 
  • Col. Timothy A. Herritage 
  • Col. James V. Hewitt 
  • Col. Jay A. Johnson 
  • Col. Matthew E. Jones 
  • Col. Michele A. Lobianco 
  • Col. Sean E. Lowe 
  • Col. Robert P. Lyons III 
  • Col. Mark A. Massaro 
  • Col. Craig D. Prather 
  • Col. Joseph L. Sheffield 
  • Col. Andrew J. Steffen 
  • Col. Kristen D. Thompson 
  • Col. Shane S. Vesely 
  • Col. Douglas P. Wickert 
  • Col. Catherine V. Barrington 
  • Col. Brian E. Vaughn