As CSEL, WO Catterall serves as the principal advisor to her commander, U.S. Air Force General Jeffrey L. Harrigian, on matters affecting non-commissioned members (NCM) in the Alliance, while providing the command’s force structure and staff with NCM and junior officer development, utilisation and engagement. She has been in the position since September of 2019.
WO Catterall joined the RAF in 1995 as an Intelligence Analyst, serving in a broad variety of Joint Defence roles and operational intelligence specializations throughout her career in the United Kingdom and abroad. Throughout her more than 25-year career, she has deployed extensively including several Special Forces and Air Operations tours in Afghanistan. Her most recent tours include serving at NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre in Germany and the RAF College in Cranwell, U.K. where she served as the Station Warrant Officer.
Royal Air Force Warrant Officer Sara Catterall, centre, Allied Air Command's Command Senior Enlisted Leader (CSEL), poses for a group photo with Allied Command Operations (ACO) CSEL Siim Saliste, centre-left, his staff, and Allied Command Counter Intelligence Command Sergeant Major Jesse Townsend, centre-right, during a visit to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
AIRCOM is a ready, robust team trained, equipped and trusted to deliver Air and Space Power for the Alliance. AIRCOM is the single service command for all Alliance air and space matters. It provides Command and Control of NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence mission, which incorporates all measures that contribute to the deterrence of any air and missile threat or to reduce or nullify the effectiveness of hostile air action.
Operating from four locations in Europe, 1,150 airmen and women from more than 30 NATO Allied and partner nations support 24/7 full spectrum Air and Space operations, the backbone of credible deterrence and defence for the Alliance.
On June, 28 1974, the first NATO Air Headquarters – Allied Air Forces Central Europe – was established at Ramstein Air Base with staff from Belgium, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. Its task was to provide central direction and control for the air forces in the European Central Region through the co-ordination of the headquarters of Second Allied Tactical Air Force based at Rheindahlen and Fourth Allied Tactical Air Force based at Heidelberg.
During the early 1990s, tensions between East and West relaxed and a major reorganisation of the NATO command and control structure was initiated. Given decreasing numbers of Allied aircraft in Europe, a downsizing of Central Region Air Force headquarters occurred during 1993; Allied Air Forces Central Europe was expanded to absorb their functions. On July 1, 1993, the new AIRCENT headquarters was officially formed.
A further consequence of NATO's reorganisation was an increased area of responsibility for NATO Europe’s Central Region by the addition, on January 1, 1994, of Denmark and northern Germany, which had previously been under the Northern Region. With the accession of three new members to NATO in March 1999, Poland and the Czech Republic have since contributed to AIRCENT’s task and mission. In March 2000, Headquarters AIRNORTH was officially inaugurated with a structure that included personnel from Norway, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy and Spain.
When in March 2004 another seven new members acceded to NATO, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Slovakia joined the Headquarters' staff. On 1 July 2004, Headquarters AIRNORTH was renamed Component Command-Air Headquarters Ramstein and with effect from 1 March 2010, the Headquarters was again renamed to Headquarters Allied Air Command Ramstein.
This is part six of a SHAPE Public Affairs series, introducing CSELs within Allied Command Operations. Following highlights will include CSELs from: NATO Force Structure components, and other units from multiple domains and subcommands.