Seventeenth Air Force to Stand Down

Air Force officials on Friday will inactivate 17th Air Force, US Africa Command’s air component since October 2008, during a ceremony at Ramstein AB, Germany. US Air Forces in Europe will become AFRICOM’s new air component. USAFE’s 3rd Air Force, also at Ramstein, will be responsible for day-to-day activities in AFRICOM’s area of responsibility, in addition to its responsibilities to US European Command, said USAFE officials. “The inactivation for 17th Air Force is one of the first visible steps in the Secretary of Defense-directed command restructuring,” states a USAFE release. Members of 17th AF, USAFE, and 3rd AF began integrating last October, according to the release. The 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, which falls under 3rd AF, will assume command and control of US air operations in both Europe and Africa under the consolidation. “Over the last four years, we have actively engaged our African partners by offering them our respect, trust, and the desire to build and strengthen enduring friendships,” said Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, who led 17th AF since June 2010, in a release. The numbered air force conducted engagements with 36 African nations during its tenure, according to that release.