Air Force vice chief nominated to be next USAFE commander

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta announced May 11 that the president has nominated Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Phil Breedlove to be the next U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander.

If confirmed by the Senate, Breedlove will replace Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, who the president nominated to become the next Air Force chief of staff after Gen. Norton Schwartz retires this August.

"I am deeply honored to be nominated," Breedlove said. "If confirmed, going to USAFE would be like going back home. I was stationed in Europe as a young officer and again as a commander at Aviano, 16th Air Force and most recently 3rd Air Force.

"I love the area, believe in the mission and have always been inspired by the fantastic Airmen who serve in the European Theater."

Breedlove, who was raised in Forest Park, Ga., has been serving in his current position since January 2011. As the vice chief of staff, he assists the chief of staff with organizing, training, and equipping 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the U.S. and overseas. General Breedlove also presides over the Air Staff and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group.

He received his commission in 1977 as a distinguished graduate of Georgia Tech's ROTC program and has since earned master's degrees in aeronautical technology from Arizona State University and in national security studies from the National War College.

Breedlove has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions, and has completed nine overseas tours, including two remote tours. He has commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group, three fighter wings, and a numbered air force.

Additionally, he has served as operations officer in the Pacific Command Division on the Joint Staff; executive officer to the Commander of Headquarters Air Combat Command; the senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force; and Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff.

Breedlove flew combat missions in Operation Joint Forge/Joint Guardian. He is a command pilot with more than 3,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-16.

His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters.