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TAAC-Air holds change of command ceremony

  • Published
  • By Capt. Edith Sakura
  • 438th Air Expeditionary Wing
Brig. Gen. Christopher E. Craige took command of the Train, Advise, Assist Command – Air (TAAC-Air), 438th Air Expeditionary Wing during a ceremony here July 27, 2015.

Presiding at the ceremony was Gen. John F. Campbell, commander, Resolute Support and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan.

Craige is the commanding general of TAAC-Air, composed of more than 600 military members and contractors, including coalition partners from the U.S., Greece, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Turkey, Croatia, Italy and Denmark.

“To say it’s an honor and privilege to take command today is an understatement,” Craige said. “I have been greatly impressed by the successful partnership TAAC-Air has fostered and all the Afghan air force has achieved.”

TAAC-Air trains, advises and assists today's Afghan air force to develop its organic operational capability. The AAF operates the Mi-17 transport helicopter, Mi-35 attack helicopter, Cessna 208B light lift aircraft, MD-530 light attack helicopter and the C-130 medium lift aircraft in support of Afghan pilot training.

“I want to take a few moments to talk about the Afghan air force,” Campbell said. “Starting from nearly scratch only a few years ago - this is an extraordinary success story - air forces are inherently complex and extremely difficult to develop and maintain. Due to the combined efforts of the great men and women of TAAC-Air, the Afghan air force is now doing all of this [and] I have been amazed at what the Afghan air force is now able to do. They are proving to be one of the most capable air forces in the region … and they’re going to get even better.”

Out-going commanding general, Brig. Gen. Michael D. Rothstein, said it was an honor to have served with the men and women of TAAC-Air since August 2014.

“It has been said true leadership is a gift that is given to the leader by those who are led,” he said. “Thank you for this gift you have given me this past year of letting me lead you. I hope I have been worthy of the trust you have placed in me.”

Craige said he was excited to join the highly successful TAAC-Air team.

“These remain challenging times with great sacrifices by all nations,” he said. “I look forward to seeing the proud partnership grow even stronger, as together, we build and sustain a truly effective Afghan air force.”