U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Steven J. DePalmer assumed responsibility as Chief of Staff, Joint Warfare Centre (JWC), from U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Scott D. West during a Handover Ceremony on Thursday 12 August 2010 at the 426th Air Base Squadron's Community Activity Centre in Jåttå, Stavanger, Norway.
German Army Lieutenant General Wolfgang Korte, Commander JWC, presided over the ceremony. He said goodbye to Brigadier General West and warmly welcomed incoming Chief of Staff Brigadier General Steven J. DePalmer, to whom he tendered his best wishes for a successful mission.
Brigadier General DePalmer, a 1985 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, has logged over 3,000 hours as a command pilot in the F-15C/E, AT-38B, T-38, and T-37 aircraft. In his 25 years of service he has served as an instructor pilot, weapons officer and chief of safety. He has commanded the 494th Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom; the 32nd Air Operations Group, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and the 53rd Wing, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
Brigadier General DePalmer also served as Vice Commander, 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, and Vice Director of Operations at HQ NORAD, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Prior to his current assignment at the Joint Warfare Centre, Brigadier General DePalmer was the Vice Commander of 14th Air Force, Air Forces Strategic, Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
In his keynote speech Lieutenant General Korte addressed guests and JWC staff members and thanked the outgoing Chief of Staff, both professionally and personally, for his outstanding contribution and unwavering commitment to the JWC. He went on to describe the important role of the Chief of Staff in terms of mission and said: "The Chief of Staff is without doubt the most important position at the Joint Warfare Centre. The Chief of Staff is the alter ego of his Commander. The relationship between the Commander and his Chief of Staff is based on absolute trust and mutual loyalty." Reflecting on Brigadier General West's time at the Joint Warfare Centre, Lieutenant General Korte said that Brigadier General West had been the most suitable, trustworthy and competent advisor, which he pointed out had been highly rewarding for the Centre.
In his turn, Brigadier General Steven J. DePalmer said in his speech that he was looking forward to his new assignment. He thanked everyone for the welcome given to him and his family since their arrival. "Thank you for the warm welcome this afternoon as well as for the fantastic reception provided to Sheila and I and our three daughters when we arrived on Monday in this wonderful country. ‘Tusen takk!’” he said.
Reflecting on the Joint Warfare Centre's place in NATO, Brigadier General DePalmer said: "For the last 61 years much has changed in the world since the creation of NATO. But, a few things remain the same. Our member states remain committed to promoting peace and security. However, if diplomatic efforts fail, NATO must possess the capability through a comprehensive approach to undertake crisis management and, if necessary, conduct collective defence through civil-military operations. And this is where the Joint Warfare Centre is critical to NATO's success. In the spirit of collaboration and cooperation, the professionals of the Joint Warfare Centre continue to provide the best training for our NATO forces. Whether preparing ISAF staff for duty in Afghanistan, training the NATO Response Force or supporting experimentation projects, the excellent reputation of the Joint Warfare Centre continues to spread throughout the Alliance."
Brigadier General DePalmer added, in regard to his predecessor, that he was grateful for Brigadier General West and his wife Jane's outstanding leadership at the Joint Warfare Centre and in the local Stavanger community. "Sheila and I know that we have big shoes to fill and as a family we look forward to the adventure. Thank you." he concluded.
The incoming Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Steven J. DePalmer assumed his new duties immediately after the Handover Ceremony.