Tuesday, May 09, 2017

EDITORIAL >> Col. Brown is in SHAPE

Congratulations to Col. Charles E. Brown Jr., commander at Little Rock Air Force Base, whose next assignment will be as senior assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Belgium.

SHAPE, as the command where Col. Brown is headed is known, is the headquarters of Allied Command Operations, which controls all NATO operations. Western security will be stronger thanks to Col. Brown.

Our air base is a talent pool for future leaders, and several of its past commanders have gone on to top posts at the Pentagon and elsewhere.

Col. Brown’s successor at LRAFB will be Col. Gerald Donohue, 86th Operations Group commander at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.

We are grateful for Col. Brown’s two years of leadership of the 19th Airlift Wing, the host wing at LRAFB, which has become the best C-130 training base in the world, and its airmen have been on constant deployment since 9/11.

Col. Brown will be a top aide to the Supreme Allied Commander, Army Gen. Curtis Michael Scaparrotti, who took the post a year ago. Previous Supreme Allied Commanders include Gens. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Alexander Haig, Little Rock native Wesley Clark, James L. Jones and other distinguished Americans.

NATO, a military alliance of the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and 24 European nations, plus Turkey, has been responsible for protecting the security and freedom of Europe since the Second World War.

The organization’s importance is as clear today as it was in 1949, when it was founded in the early days of the Cold War to thwart Soviet expansion.

The Russian threat is again on the rise. Its operatives are as determined as ever to infiltrate our country and destabilize democratic nations around the world. But NATO is also working to combat terrorism among other security fronts.

Community newspapers don’t often weigh in on international affairs, but NATO is a community of nations. To that end, we will miss Col. Brown, who has been a valued member of our central Arkansas community, advocating everyday for the quality of life for airmen and their families.

Col. Brown will take that same kind of dedication to Mons, Belgium, and beyond and succeed in all future missions. Our loss is NATO’s gain.