Leadership teams from two Air National Guard units, the 152nd Air Operations Group out of Syracuse, New York, and the 217th Air Operations Group from the 110th Wing out of Battle Creek, Michigan, met with their United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa counterparts at Ramstein Air Base, Sept. 12-16.
The 110th Wing commander, Col. Daniel Kramer, 217th AOG commander, Col. Kent Harbaugh, and 152nd AOG commander, Col. Kevin St. John, along with deputies, directors and senior enlisted advisors, introduced themselves to the Air Force Forces Staff Directorate senior leadership and the 603rd Air Operations Command staff and division chiefs after the most recent personnel changeover cycle.
“The leadership presence of USAFE-AFAFRICA and both AOGs during an unprecedented single visit to Ramstein Air Base not only provided an efficient use of time, but more importantly demonstrated cohesiveness of the units to continue to support USAFE-AFAFRICA needs,” said Col. Gary Dodge, Air National Guard Advisor to the USAFE-AFAFRICA commander.
The visit marked the first time the leadership from both AOGs aligned with USAFE-AFAFRICA created a single agenda and consolidated talking points in addition to visiting Ramstein Air Base together. The visit also brought the aligned units back onto Ramstein Air Base after a long period of pandemic travel restrictions.
During the visit, leadership meetings took place in the USAFE-AFAFRICA headquarters building and inside the 603rd Air Operations Center.
“This has been a great opportunity for the AOG commanders to directly connect with many of their members currently embedded within the USAFE-AFAFRICA staff and AOC who are delivering continuous support to the theater,” Dodge said.
Both ANG units have history with USAFE-AFAFRICA prior to the April 2012 merger. The 152nd AOC was originally aligned with USAFE and 3rd Air Force, and the 217th AOC was originally aligned with AFAFRICA and 17th Air Force.
USAFE became USAFE-AFAFRICA on April 20, 2012, when 17th AF, which previously served as the air component for AFRICOM, officially stood down and transferred its mission responsibility to USAFE.
There are currently 36 personnel from the two ANG units stationed at Ramstein Air Base on either temporary duty or permanent party status in support of USAFE-AFAFRICA, along with multiple National Guard members on orders at home station supporting in full-time distributed operations.