Airmen serving at Air Base 101 and 201 in Niger, Africa had the opportunity to meet with Gen. James Hecker, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, commander, Oct. 28 through Oct. 29, 2022, during his visit to the continent.
Prior to his visit with both installations, Hecker attended the Senegalese Air Force-hosted Africa Air Force Forum, which brought over 40 Africa nations and international partner defense delegations to Dakar, Senegal. The conference addressed the evolving role of Africa’s air forces through emerging requirements, counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts across the continent.
The conference marks Hecker’s first visit to the African continent as the USAFE-AFAFRICA commander - choosing to visit Niger as his first stop.
At AB 101, he met with the Niger Air Chief to obtain situational awareness from the Niger Armed Forces’ perspective on the threats in the area and discussed the partnership between nations.
Each installation briefed Hecker on force protection along with a perimeter tour to better understand the installation’s significant improvements as well as ongoing challenges.
Hecker discussed the growing presence of international air forces in Africa and their ability to support partners beyond counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts.
“The sacrifices you [U.S. service members] make do not go unnoticed from senior leadership and all the way up to the president,” Hecker said. “They know what you are doing. You [U.S. service members] fight the terrorists in a way no other nation does.”
His last stop, at both installations, was a troop engagement, where Airmen were recognized for their hard work and dedication during their deployment.
It was great watching both Air Base 101 and 201 perform their duties to ensure we prevent attacks within Africa,” added Hecker. “I am deeply appreciative of each and every one one of you.”