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May 3 2019

General Tod D. Wolters Assumes Command as 19th Supreme Allied Commander Europe

SHAPE, Belgium – NATO’s 19th Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) General Tod D. Wolters assumed command of Allied Command Operations (ACO) from General Curtis M. Scaparrotti in a change of command ceremony held at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) on May 3, 2019.

Military members and civilians from across NATO’s 29 Allied nations and various partners attended the ceremony, a time-honoured tradition held on the front lawn of SHAPE Headquarters. The ceremonial passing of the colours signifies the transfer of command from one officer to the next. Distinguished guests, among others, included: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Chairman of the NATO Military Committee Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach.  

"The Change of Command tradition, is about "the command," a reflection of its accomplishments and teamwork; a continuum of the command's legacy; and a confidence in the command's future,” said General Scaparrotti. "It's been my great honour to be the 18th SACEUR; to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with members of our Ally and Partner nations; to experience the friendship and warmth of the European people, and to further unite our nations in a noble cause.”

To be called SACEUR is to lead, and today we honour two of these leaders

       

"The Change of Command tradition, is about "the command," a reflection of its accomplishments and teamwork; a continuum of the command's legacy; and a confidence in the command's future,” said General Scaparrotti. "It's been my great honour to be the 18th SACEUR; to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with members of our Ally and Partner nations; to experience the friendship and warmth of the European people, and to further unite our nations in a noble cause.”  

Secretary General Stoltenberg presided over the ceremony, where he welcomed General Wolters and shared his gratitude for General Scaparrotti’s three years as SACEUR.

"To be called SACEUR is to lead, and today we honour two of these leaders,” said Secretary General Stoltenberg. "General Scaparrotti your time with us has been shaped by increasingly aggressive acts by Russia and the continuing threat from terrorism and instability in the Middle East and North Africa. Your leadership and vision have proved critical to strengthening our Alliance.”  


As NATO celebrates its 70th anniversary throughout 2019, both Secretary General Stoltenberg and General Scaparrotti reflected on the Alliance and what the future holds. 

"General Wolters, as SACEUR you will now take command of forces from across our Alliance,” said Secretary General Stoltenberg. "With the help of your incredible team at SHAPE, you will have a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and security of the 29 nations of our NATO Alliance. Standing up to current challenges as well as new evolving threats, I know you will continue to demonstrate the same levels of excellence you have become known for throughout your career.”

General Wolters stressed his intention to continue the efforts his predecessors have achieved and the importance of the forward progress of the Alliance.  

"NATO's speed and posture continues on a positive trajectory, and Allied Command Operations will work to sustain our focused approach to relationships, readiness, transparency and alignment. Vigilance endures,” said General Wolters.  

General Wolters recently served as commander, Allied Air Command and commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre at Kalkar, Germany.

Since its establishment in 1951 during the founding years of NATO, an American flag officer backed by the supporting staff of military and civilian representatives from Allied and partner nations has held the position of SACEUR.  

General Wolters also assumed command of U.S. European Command (EUCOM) during a ceremony held in Stuttgart, Germany on May 2, 2019. The roles of SACEUR and commander, EUCOM are held simultaneously with an aim to increase interoperability and strengthen NATO’s collective defence.  

General Scaparrotti will retire from the U.S. Army later this month with over forty years of military service.





Story by SHAPE Public Affairs Office

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