The former Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force General Norton Schwartz arrived in Israel for a visit and did not miss an opportunity to meet with the IAF once again, this time without donning a uniform. In an interview with IAF Magazine, he talks about the close relations that the USAF has had and continues to have with colleagues overseas
Naomi Tzoref, photos courtesy of Noa Fenigstein
Last week, an old acquaintance visited Israel: 2008-2012 Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force, General Norton Schwartz. General Schwartz visited as part of a tour under the aegis of the organization, Bens, which he heads, and which brings together American economists. The general did not pass up an opportunity to visit the IAF during his stay and he even toured an Iron Dome battery in Ashdod. For General Schwartz, it was the first time he visited a battery from the Iron Dome system, which is a product of cooperation between the United States and Israel. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about joint developments from Israeli industries and American industries. This is a wonderful example of cooperation on the part of the industries of both countries”, said General Schwartz in an interview with IAF Magazine.
General Schwartz served as Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force during Major General Ido Nechustan’s tenure as Commander of the IAF and was considered a trailblazer: He was the first transport pilot to command the air force, and the first Jew to hold office. His relations with Israeli counterpart were particularly warm and he even awarded him the American Legion Award as a token of his appreciation. “The close relationship that we enjoyed during our service as commanders was a product of the good relationship between our forces and it continues to this day”, said General Schwartz.”I think that a key aspect in the relationship is that we use the same aircrafts, train in a similar way, and of course share information on everything related to this”.
Soon, the USAF and the IAF will be sharing the new stealth Jet, the F-35, from Lockheed Martin. “The F-35 is one of the many kinds of aircrafts that we share. The relations that started many years ago continue and strengthen on other platforms, like the V-22, which Israel is considering purchasing, and which is the most special and complex aircraft that we operate”.
Size Does Not Matter
Even though the USAF is one of the most powerful air forces in the world, General Norton Schwartz believes that the USAF can learn many things from its younger brother in Israel. “The IAF is smaller than the USAF, but in many ways it’s more skilled. It’s wonderful to see how a small force, like the IAF, can be so powerful”, said General Schwartz. “The Israelis are known their ability to make the most of their existing resources, while still maintaining the high level of quality.”
“Is there a possibility that in the next war, American planes will fight alongside Israeli planes?”
“This is certainly a possibility. In military terms, we are prepared to fight together and we have trained for this for years. Of course, this is a decision for our governments, but if need be, it’s important to know that we are prepared for it and I think we would do it well.”