Germany and the U.S. are bound by a close friendship based on historical ties, shared experiences, interests, and values. For the past 70 years here in Rheinland-Pfalz, our German hosts have opened their homes and communities to a population of over 50,000 — including military service members, DOD civilians, contractors, and families. We are proud to live and work alongside our German friends, who host the largest U.S. military community outside the United States.

At Ramstein Air Base, I am honored to serve as the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa and NATO Allied Air Command. While both commands cover expansive geography, it all starts right here.

In April, Ramstein Air Base hosted the inaugural Ukraine Defense Consultative Group, a U.S. Secretary of Defense ministerial to discuss international security assistance to Ukraine amidst Russia’s invasion. This historic event between the U.S. and 44 partners and allies, with over 200 attendees and 150 media members, took place with only six days of notification. Quite simply, we could not have pulled off the event without direct support and coordination with the German Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Interior, Rheinland-Pfalz leadership, the Polizei, and countless local support vendors.

This level of cooperation always raises the bar, and it is only a question of when, not if, the world will once again descend on Ramstein. From support to Ukraine to temporarily housing 35,000 Afghan evacuees and sending critical COVID medical supplies to Europe and Africa, we’ve seen that there is nothing we can’t accomplish as long as we’re doing it together.

Looking at the past 70 years of defending freedom together, we know that what we do here is as vital today as any other time in our shared history.

To the German workforce working alongside us daily and community members sharing your hospitality, generosity, and friendship with us — I would like to say “Vielen Dank” for making us feel like part of the family. We truly value our enduring partnership that keeps the light of freedom shining bright.


James B. Hecker

Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe;

Commander, U.S. Air Forces Africa;

Commander, Allied Air Command