Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, the IAF Commander, Brig. Gen. (Res’) Yaakov Shaharabani, former IAF Attaché to the USA and the IAF’s Commanders Forum, gathered for a farewell ceremony in honor of General Frank Gorenc, the Commander of USAFE (U.S Air Forces in Europe) who completed his three year period of command during which the cooperation between the forces tightened significantly

Vered Talala | Translation: Ohad Zeltzer Zubida & Ofri Aharon

Israeli, U.S and IAF flags once again decorated the entrance to IAF HQ in honor of the third visit of General Frank Gorenc as Commander of the USAFE. This is not the first time IAF HQ has been decorated with flags and other means of ceremony in honor of the visit of an important and significant senior commander, but this time, it was for a farewell visit of General Gorenc from the IAF, who was a dominant partner of his during his years in command.

The General met with Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel, IAF Commander, the IAF’s Commanders Forum and Brig. Gen. (Res’) Yaakov Shaharabani, the former IAF Attaché to the USA. Together, they ceremonially concluded his period of service which was characterized by a significant tightening of cooperation between the forces with warm words. “Deep gratitude for many years of commitment, honesty and support which led to the promotion of operational abilities and the cooperation between the Air Forces in order to promote Israel’s security”, the IAF Commander thanked General Gorenc and emphasized, “We are talking about many years of personal commitment and true friendship”.

General Gorenc is responsible for the operation of the USAF’s Aerial Force in EUCOM (European Command). Among the former commands he held are a fighter squadron, an operations group, two wings and the Air Force District of Washington. The area under his command includes 49 Million Square Kilometers and 104 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and the Atlantic, Arctic and Indian Ocean and he will soon conclude three years of activity. “I think that we work together in order to supply the most important thing that you can achieve, security and stability, this is a superior cause”, said General Gorenc to the IAF’s Commanders Forum. “The friendship trust and cooperation we share are important for the future, but the question is: When will the future come? This question is directed toward us. I would like to thank you for the great experiences in my time in Israel, I dearly appreciate it”.

USAFE Commander: “Working together to provide security”

“It is our pleasure to host you here and manage a close friendship” | Photography: Mor Tzidon

A New Era
The strategic cooperation and relationship between the IAF and its American counterpart continue to deepen. Last year, a cooperation agreement between the IAF Commander and his colleague General Mark Welsh from the USAF was signed, and as a part of which it was agreed that USAFE will lead the cooperation with the IAF as representatives of the USAF. Since, a rise in mutual activity has been noted in multiple fields such as operational knowledge exchange, training and more. The year of 2016 was opened with the “Juniper Cobra” Aerial Defense Division and U.S Army mutual exercise, which was considered a peak as the IDF’s largest cooperation with the Americans. The cooperation will become even more significant leading up to the end of the year when the the first pair of “Adir” F-35I will arrive and usher in a new era of stealth in the IAF.

The U.S and Israeli Air Forces have a long standing history of cooperation, exchange of knowledge and training abilities which brought the combatants of both sides to the edge. The USAFE participated in the “Blue Flag” exercise, a large-scale international exercise held in late 2015 in Israel for the second time, in which Israeli and American pilots flew and trained together side by side and improved each other’s operational abilities. As a part of the mutual training program, the IAF’s fighter squadrons will take part in the international large-scale “Red Flag” training exercise held in the U.S for the second consecutive year. “It is our pleasure to host you here and manage a close friendship”, the IAF Commander added. “The cooperation with you was built over the years and will continue to strengthen”.

USAFE Commander: “Working together to provide security”

Photography: Mor Tzidon