From Philip Breedlove, Allied Command Operations:  As I assume command of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe and U.S. European Command, I am truly humbled to serve in the position held by such extraordinary leaders as Generals Eisenhower, Ridgway, Shalikashvili, Ralston and most recently Admiral Stavridis.

Over the years they led the development of the most powerful military alliance in the world with more modern air, sea and land capability than ever before. But as they did, I understand that the real power of the alliance comes from our people and our families.

To these great men and women, who ensure the transatlantic security of our nation and allies— to them I pledge to give nothing less than my best, to care for our Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and their families who selflessly serve every day.

As my focus broadens from U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Africa, to EUCOM and NATO, I will rely on the men and women of this alliance whose hard work and dedication honour their predecessors who created the conditions for security and prosperity here in Europe for the past 60 years. Although I am new to this position I am not a newcomer to the alliance or this part of the world. 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.

I truly believe that it’s relationships that make us successful and help us accomplish the mission. For example, today, at Lask Air Base, in Poland, our U.S. Air Force is conducting bilateral training… building relationships. But the partnership goes beyond training, as our Airmen are also reaching out to the Polish community and extending our genuine friendship, as they partner on service projects.

It’s these community outreach events, humanitarian assistance and other civic engagements that make a difference. 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. . . .

Finally, I’m reminded of what Gen. Ridgway once said, "No ground gained was ever relinquished." Our alliance has gained much ground in capability, interoperability and mission success. We won’t retreat from that. Together with partners and allies, we will protect our gains as we continue to work to secure the future!

Excerpts from "A New Chapter," by USAF General Phil Breedlove, Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and Commander of U.S. European Command.  (photo: Sgt Peter Buitenhuis RNLAF/NATO)