Four nations – one command
The first successful steps of the European Air Transport Commands (EATC) are made – more will follow: The change of command from German Major General Jochen Both to French Major General Pascal Valentin is being done – on command of the Dutch Air Force Commander and Chairman of the Multinational Air Transport Committee (MATraC), Lieutenant General Alexander Schnitger.
There was a lot of movement at the Eindhoven Air Base: Many changes appeared due to the change of command ceremony of the EATC on Thursday, the 19th 2012, when French General Valentin took over the command of the EATC from German General Both. Also the Chief of Staffs’ post is newly manned. Brigadier General Joerg Lebert took over from Brigadier General Alain Rouceau.
The positions either of Commander and Chief of staff rotate as planned every two years between Germany and France
Before taking over the command, French General Valentin was leader of the French „L‘ecole de guerre“. And after General Schnitger has conducted the Change of Command Ceremony, General Both will focus on his new assignment as Commander of the NATO Airborne Early Warning Force Command at SHAPE / Belgium, NATO’s strategic headquarter. General Both can be satisfied with “his time” at the EATC, the given figures of his command speak for themselves and proof the success of the EATC.
Facts and figures
Until June this year, the assigned 126 planes of the four nations’ Command flew more than 7.500 missions, carried about 22.250 tons of freight and conducted more than 200 air to air refuelling missions.
And not only material is being transported: More than 800 Medical Evacuation sorties (missions) were being flown in 2011 for instance. During the Libya Crisis about 1.000 persons were evacuated and another approximately 1.300 people were saved in the further event of the nuclear catastrophe out of Japan – with EATC assigned aircraft and on EATC planning, tasking and conducting: Those planes still belong to the four member nations, but the EATC leads them particularly to gain efficient structures.
Four nations – one command
165 people work for the EATC currently – and it is about to grow up to 190 people, when achieving FOC within the next 12 months. No matter which nation, plane or destination: The working language of the EATC in its environment is English, and the mind set is more than national - for the experience of four nations in military air transport to serve together in a unique command. That works effective as required and as efficient as possible: Not anymore on four different locations in each nation like in the past, but with one understanding and one command.
After the ceremony, Lieutenant General Schnitger as the Commander Royal Netherlands Air Force and the leaving Commander EATC Major General Both together with Mrs. van der Vlies, unveiled a memorial stone in memory of Colonel Henk van der Vlies, a former member of the Team EATC.
Please see our media gallery for the pictures of the event
Text: Norbert Thomas