17th Air Force not going to Sembach as earlier reported
April 2, 2008
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — A new Air Force unit will “raise the flag” as part of Africa Command later this year, but it won’t be at Sembach Annex as the Pentagon reported last week, an Air Force official said Tuesday.
The Air Force will re-activate its historic 17th Air Force around September to become the assigned unit for airmen serving in the new regional command. But a location for the command has not been finalized, according to an Air Force spokesman who did not want his name used because the selection process is not complete.
The Pentagon announced on Friday the selection of a new commander and vice commander to head the 17th, noting that it would be based at Sembach. Maj. Gen. Ronald R. Ladnier and Brig. Gen. Michael W. Callan will take over the new numbered unit, but the Air Force official said it was a mistake to say it would be at the base — which is northeast of Kaiserslautern and about 18 miles from Ramstein Air Base.
It is suspected that the reason Sembach was released as the location of the 17th is because officials initially chose the base as the unit’s home, the official said.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters has proposed a site to put the command. But a USAFE statement e-mailed to Stars and Stripes on Monday said an official announcement is pending because of what officials call a “host-nation notification process.” In the past, the Air Force has delayed the announcement of locating or moving large commands and units until giving the host nation time to review the proposal.
In December, USAFE headquarters set up a transition team with about 10 people to coordinate the 17th re-activation.
The Air Force hopes to officially re-activate the command in time for the Air Force’s birthday on Sept. 18. But the command will not reach “full operational capability” until next year or later. The 17th will consist of about 300 airmen.
Ladnier and Callan plan to arrive in Germany in about two months to help stand up the numbered command. Ladnier will leave his job as commander of the Tanker Airlift Control Center for Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. Callan is currently serving as commander of the 23rd Air Force and director, air, space and cyberspace, Air Force Special Operations Command at Hurlburt Field, Fla.