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KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — An F-16 pilot and former wing commander at Aviano Air Base, Italy, will take over the 3rd Air Force at a ceremony on Tuesday at Ramstein Air Base.

Maj. Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, who served as commander of the Aviano-based 31st Fighter Squadron in 2004 and 2005, will take over for Lt. Gen. Rod Bishop. Breedlove is expected to pin on another star Friday, said Maj. Cristin Marposon, a 3rd Air Force spokeswoman.

The command oversees the 603rd Air and Space Operations Center, nine wings and three standalone groups. The 3rd Air Force, which was established in December 2006, directs U.S. Air Forces in Europe assets involved in contingency and wartime operations across Europe and beyond. Its headquarters offices and staff are based at Ramstein Air Base.

Bishop, who has 34 years of military service, will officially retire in August. He is the first commander of the reactivated 3rd Air Force.

On Saturday, Bishop will be inducted into the Order of the Sword during a ceremony. It is the highest honor the enlisted force can bestow on an officer. Bishop will become the 18th recipient of the award. The event will be held at the Ramstein Officers Club.

The assumption of command ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Hangar 5 at Ramstein Air Base.

Breedlove previously served as the vice director for Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he helped provide advice to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Breedlove is a Forest Park, Ga., native and was commissioned in 1977 as a graduate of Georgia Tech’s ROTC program. During his career, he has commanded three fighter wings and served eight overseas tours. He also served as the vice commander of 16th Air Force at Ramstein Air Base.

He has more than 3,400 flying hours, most of them in the F-16.

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