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7/15/2021 11:00 AM
Heavy Airlift Wing welcomes its first Swedish Commander
15 JULY 2021 – PÁPA - - US Air Force Colonel James S. Sparrow passed over command of the Strategic Airlift Capability's multinational operational arm, the Heavy Airlift Wing to Swedish Royal Air Force Colonel Peder Söderström on 8 July 2021 in Pápa, Hungary.

​The grand ceremony, held in the C-17 hangar, attracted a number of distinguished visitors including the Swedish Supreme Commander General Mikael Byden, the Commander of  the Swedish Royal Air Force Major General Carl-Johan Edström, and the Inspector of the Hungarian Air Force Inspectorate Major General Nándor Kilián. 


Everything accomplished has been a result of a team effort.  Because of you all.  I may have given some direction, but I have been amazed at the innovation and ingenuity of our multinational team. () To Brigadier General Laszlo Gangler and Colonel Zsolt Magasy, thank you for your support and hospitality from Pápa Airbase.  You always come through when we need something and the cooperation has been excellent, and I have valued our friendship and good relations.  And I also want to thank our gracious host nation Hungary for all they do to support our program" said outgoing Commander Colonel Sparrow in his remarks.


The Heavy Airlift Wing sees a Change of Command every two years and this time, the first ever Swede in command. Every second Commander is provided by the USA, the largest contributor of the SAC, and every other Commander's nationality rotates between the three following largest contributors, Sweden, Norway, and The Netherlands. Every Commander serves as a Vice Commander for two years prior to them taking command of the unique multinational wing, therefore the new Commander already knows the ins and outs of the special setup of the Strategic Airlift Capability.


After being here for two years, I know firsthand what a unique program this is.  Imagine flying around the world in an aircraft owned by one organization on behalf of 12 nations, registered in Hungary as a state aircraft, and operated by a multinational crew from any of the member nations.  There is nothing in the world similar to this program, which can truly be showcased as a role model of military cooperation in smart defense" expressed Colonel Söderström his views on the new job. 


Sweden's Royal Army Band travelled from Sweden to Pápa to make sure that this special event has the perfect musical score accompanying it.  

Browse image gallery here.