NATO Secretary General visits Sheppard

Sheppard AFB

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Brig. Gen. Ronald Jolly exchange greetings upon Stoltenberg's arrival to Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, April 6, 2018. Stoltenberg was given a tour of the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard and addressed Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program students and their families. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Madeleine Remillard)

Sheppard FB

Sheppard personnel sit down with the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for a mission brief at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, April 6, 2018. Stoltenberg was given a tour of the 80th Flying Training Wing at Sheppard as part of his visit to facilities across the U.S. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

Sheppard FB

An instructor pilot for the 80th Flying Training Wing asks NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg a question at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, April 6, 2018. The instructor pilot asked Stoltenberg about the future of pilot training now that artificial intelligence is a possible alternative. Stoltenberg responded that there will always be need of human pilots, but in the future they will probably be working together with unmanned aircraft systems as well. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Pedro Tenorio)

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Sheppard, April 6, 2018, during his tour of select military installations across the U.S.

 

Stoltenberg took a tour of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program located at Sheppard’s 80th Flying Training Wing.

 

ENJJPT is the world’s only multi-nationally manned and managed flying training program chartered to produce combat pilots for the NATO alliance.

 

Out of the 29 NATO member countries, 14 of those countries participate in ENJJPT at Sheppard.

 

While touring the flying training wing, Stoltenberg addressed an auditorium full of instructor pilots, students and family members.

 

He emphasized the importance of their role in NATO and often spoke directly to a group of pilots seated in the front row who are set to graduate from the program.

 

There he explained the purpose of NATO and how important ENJJPT is to strengthen the alliance.

 

“The purpose of the NATO alliance is to bring nations together,” Stoltenberg said. “We are stronger when we stand together rather than standing alone. This is the strongest alliance in history.”

 

The purpose of being strong, he said, is to avoid war by delivering a strong deterrence.

 

U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, also toured the 80th FTW with Stoltenberg.

 

“This is ‘the’ pilot training base for NATO,” she said. “What NATO is doing here is so important and having the support of the community around Sheppard is wonderful.”

 

Before boarding his plane, Stoltenberg and Hutchison took time to answer questions from local media.

 

“It was a great pleasure for me to come to Texas,” Stoltenberg said. “The pilot training program here is a great asset for NATO and our alliance. After learning what I have today, I’ll be ENJJPT’s strongest advocate.”

 

After the tour, Stoltenberg departed for Colorado Springs, Colorado, to visit the North American Aerospace Defense Command.