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7/7/2017 1:00 PM
Change of command at the Heavy Airlift Wing
06 JUL 2017 – PÁPA - - At a ceremony on the Strategic Airlift Capability premises at Pápa Air Base, Colonel Bjørn Gohn-Hellum assumed command of the Heavy Airlift Wing.

Colonel Bjørn Gohn-Hellum assumes command of the Heavy Airlift Wing. Photo: HAW / Henrik Gebhardt

Colonel Gohn-Hellum (Royal Norwegian Air Force) is the fifth commander of the Heavy Airlift Wing, the operational unit of the 12 nation cooperation, the Strategic Airlift capability. Before assuming command of the Heavy Airlift Wing, Colonel Gohn-Hellum has been appointed as the Vice Commander of the Wing since July 2015.


Colonel Bjørn Gohn-Hellum assumed command of the Heavy Airlift Wing at a ceremony on 6 July in the Strategic Airlift Capability C-17 hangar on Pápa Air Base in Hungary. He did so by accepting the Heavy Airlift Wing Flag from the hands of General Dieter E. Bareihs, Chairman of the Strategic Airlift Capability Steering Board. Addressing the invited guests and HAW Personnel, Colonel Gohn-Hellum quoted an Old Norwegian saying. "You shall always leave your farm to the next generation, in a better condition than it was in, when you self took it over. Colonel Nitz did that, and I intend to do the same thing".


At the same time as Colonel Gohn-Hellum assumed command, Colonel Trevor W. Nitz (U.S. Air Force), relinquished his command, and Colonel James S. Sparrow (U.S. Air Force) took the position as Vice Commander of the Wing. Colonel Nitz addressed the Personnel of the Heavy Airlift Wing with the words, "I have no doubt that you will continue to excel in the execution of this great mission under the outstanding leadership of Colonel Gohn-Hellum.

Colonel Nitz will shortly be moving to The Hague in the Netherlands where he will take over duties as the Chief, Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC) Netherlands working in the U.S. Embassy.


About the Strategic Airlift Capability

Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC), established in 2008, is a multinational program that provides its 12 member nations with assured access to military airlift capability by owning and operating three Boeing C-17A Globemaster III long-range cargo aircraft.

SAC is based at the Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF) Pápa Air Base, Hungary.

The SAC Nations are the NATO members Hungary (program host nation), Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States and NATO Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden. Each participating nation owns a share of the available flight hours of the SAC C-17As to serve the needs of their national defence, NATO, EU or UN commitments and humanitarian relief efforts.

SAC consists of the 12-nation Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) and the NATO Airlift Management Programme Office (NAM PO). The HAW is the operational unit and the NAM PO, an integral part of the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA), is the acquisition and sustainment authority of the SAC C-17A weapon system.

NAM PO contracts Boeing via a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement to provide technical support for the SAC C-17A aircraft.