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.