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General Harald Sunde, Norwegian Chief of Defense. This is Sunde's first visit to Sheppard Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo)
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The Norwegian Chief of Defense Visits Sheppard

Posted 8/16/2012   Updated 8/17/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by First Lieutenant Sara Harper
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs


8/16/2012 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- General Harald Sunde, Norway's Chief of Defense, paid a visit to the 80th Flying Training Wing and Sheppard Air Force Base for a meeting with Norwegian personnel, a mission brief with wing leadership and a quick tour of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program on Aug. 16.

Sunde was personally invited by General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to travel to the United States for an official visit of Offut, Minot and Sheppard Air Force Bases.

This was Sunde's first visit to Sheppard and even though his time here passed quickly, it was evident he truly believes in the synergy created amongst the NATO alliance within the ENJJPT Program and the opportunity to start coalition training early on in one's career.

"It is extremely important to bring the nations together in an early stage in their training program," said Sunde. "You have to integrate, to learn and get to know each other. The beauty of being a soldier is that we have a common language and a common job, and one day all the young students will meet on the battlefield."

The Chief of Defense spoke to the importance of coalition training in today's war-fighting environment and how training together in early stages only makes working as a team easier.

"Today's operations are coalition operations, which mean that we bring the nations together on the battle field, and that all starts with training. It's very important and we have to invest more in such programs."

The general explained that the ENJJPT program is important to Norway's military and is essential in maintaining their war-fighting capability.

"Norway is a rather small nation, with a small population of five million people, which is roughly half the population in Dallas, Texas," Sunde said. "For us to run an Air Force, to be able to provide the value added and real war fighting capability. This is the way to do it. To integrate, share knowledge and programs with other nations not just for help, but to have added value and integrated into good training programs."

Sunde also left a message of gratitude and thanks to all military members for the teamwork in recent conflicts.

"I would like to send a great thank you to all American Soldiers, Sailors and Marines for all you have done to support all the operations that we have conducted in the airspace over Libya, in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan," Sunde said. "Our soldiers are fighting shoulder-to-shoulder and it is important that we appreciate that, and I'm here to say thank you to all Americans."



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