“An air force that can go out and execute any mission in any area”
A ceremony honoring General Gornenc at IAF Headquarters last week
Last week, General Gornenc arrived in Israel for his 10th visit The Commander of the United States Air Force in Europe (USAFE) came to Israel this week for a short visit. In an exclusive interview with IAF Magazine, he talks about how impressed he is by the complex activities being done in the IAF and about the warm, long-standing relations between both air forces. “That’s our ‘asymmetric advantage’—our partners”.
Night falls on the Tel Nof airbase. An hour after a flight on F-15 of the “Knights of the Double Tail” squadron, four-star General Frank Gorenc, United States Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA) Commander, sits in the office of the squadron commander and talks about things he saw from the sky.
“From the center of Israel, it’s a short flight to the northern border and then, when you get back, it’s a short flight to the southern border”, he explains. “We flew over Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, the Galilee region, Haifa and then to the south, towards the Gaza Strip. This short flight demonstrates the big challenge in defending the skies of a small country like Israel”.
This is General Gorenc’s tenth visit to Israel and he is quite familiar with the IAF. “You have here a world class air force”, he says. “An air force that can go out and execute any mission of any kind”, He stresses that he is impressed by the ability of the IAF to operate avoiding collateral damage. “From outside, it may look like an easy process, but those who know the truth, know how complex an attack without collateral damage is, it is almost like a surgical procedure and it is impressive to see how they do it here”.
Although his role is defined as Commander of the United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, the general is responsible for American aerial activities in large parts of the world.
“We operate in Europe, the Middle East and also in Africa”, he explains. “Of course, the airbases are in Europe but we go out on flights to many areas. Take, for example, Operation “Odyssey Dawn” over Libya. Our aircraft enforced the no-fly zone over the battlefield at the first stage and at the second stage, they actively took part in the campaign”.
Another example of activities initiated by planes under his command would be the “Blue Flag” advanced aerial combat training exercise that took place several weeks ago and which was held by the Israeli Air Force and included different participating countries. “That’s our ‘asymmetric advantage’ – our partners”, says General Gorenc pointing to the picture on the cover of IAF Magazine, in which the planes of the countries that participated in the exercise are shown performing a joint flight.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa, which contributes to NATO air power, operates a large variety of fighter jets as well as a fleet of refueling tankers, helicopters and transport planes. “We are readily available to respond at any time to aerial activities in different places of the world”, the General stresses.