In his first blog post as commander of U.S. European Command and NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, Air Force Gen. Philip M. Breedlove today paid tribute to the legacy of his predecessors and stressed the importance of partnership and family.
“Over the years, [my predecessors] led the development of the most powerful military alliance in the world with more modern air, sea and land capability than ever before,” Breedlove wrote. But the people now serving in the commands and in the regions they support, he added, will help him see the commands into the future.
As his focus broadens from his previous role leading U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, he wrote, “I will rely on the men and women of this alliance whose hard work and dedication honor their predecessors who created the conditions for security and prosperity here in Europe for the past 60 years.”
Breedlove noted that although he is new to the position, he is not a newcomer to the alliance or to the region. During his first 100 days at the helm, he said, his goal as the Eucom commander is to visit each of his major components, talk to leaders and their teams, and learn how to better assist them. In his NATO role, he said, he will visit allies in Europe and troops in Afghanistan.
“The experiences and relationships I have been so fortunate to build across Europe provide the launch pad from which I will begin to undertake my responsibilities in this dual-hatted position,” he said.
And relationships are vital to accomplishing the mission, Breedlove said, noting that U.S. Air Force personnel are engaged in bilateral training at Lask Air Base in Poland.
“But the partnership goes beyond training,” he added, “as our airmen are also reaching out to the Polish community and extending our genuine friendship, as they partner on service projects.”
Community outreach events, humanitarian assistance and other civic engagements make a difference, the general said.
“These are the experiences that enhance the strength of our relationships and that are the most rewarding aspects of our missions across NATO and Eucom,” he added.
The general also shared his philosophy on the importance of family.
“As we undertake missions here in Europe and elsewhere, I want to share a mantra my wife, Cindy, and I maintain -- an idea that has helped keep me focused while balancing my career, marriage and family life,” he wrote. “Family came before the military. Family is there during the military. And, family is after the military.
“We must accomplish the mission,” he continued, “but caring for our families is non-negotiable. In turn, caring for our families helps us to accomplish our tasks. They are part of the mission.”