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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Nearly a year after deactivating the historic 3rd Air Force, the Air Force is bringing it back.

But what the headquarters command will do, where it will go and why it is coming back, officials will not say.

Brig. Gen. Michael Snodgrass, director of Plans, Programs and Requirements at U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters, confirmed the command would return but told Stars and Stripes he could not give any details because they were still being negotiated by the Pentagon and the U.S. State Department. Nations involved in the reorganization also must be notified.

A hint about the return of the 3rd Air Force emerged after the Pentagon announced last Friday that Lt. Gen. Robert D. Bishop Jr. would take over the deactivated command, once headquartered at RAF Mildenhall, England.

Bishop is currently the vice commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe headquarters at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

Maj. Gen. Marc E. Rogers, who is commander of the 19th Air Force at Randolph Air Force Base in Texas, has been selected to take Bishop’s position as USAFE’s second in command, according to the Air Force’s Web site.

The 3rd Air Force officially was deactivated during a ceremony in England last November. The Air Force shuttered the headquarters as part of a plan to merge commands and create a new one at Ramstein.

About 100 staff members from the 16th Air Force based at Aviano Air Base in Italy and the 3rd Air Force in England moved to Germany to create a new, 650-member “warfighting” headquarters with the job of planning combat and humanitarian operations.

The 3rd Air Force had been in England for more than 50 years and contributed to nearly every major military operation during that time period. The command moved to Mildenhall in 1972.

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