Ambassador Hall’s Remarks at the NATO Baltic Air Policing Handover Ceremony


Remarks at the NATO Baltic Air Policing Handover Ceremony

Lithuania’s First Air Force Base in Zokniai/Šiauliai International Airport

January 8, 2018

Mr. Mayor, Minister, Ambassador, Generals, Airmen, Distinguished Guests,

It is my great pleasure and deep honor to be here among NATO allies to mark the completion of another successful U.S. rotation as part of the Baltic Air Policing Mission.  Thanks for inviting me today to join in handing over this vital security responsibility to our Danish counterparts.

I am grateful to our Lithuanian hosts for their tremendous support of the American airmen stationed here during the past four months.  As always, your support has been terrific.  Nothing makes me prouder than to see our American troops serving side-by-side with their Lithuanian and NATO partners.

I want to especially congratulate Lieutenant Colonel Clint Geunther and his airmen on a job exceedingly well done.  In the past four months, the airmen of the 493rd Fighter Squadron flew over 325 sorties, ensuring the skies over Lithuania remained safe and secure.  Their presence demonstrated the U.S. government’s unwavering commitment to NATO and to the security of the Baltic region.

As we move into the 100th anniversary of the restoration of the state of Lithuania, it is remarkable to see how much the cooperation among the NATO nations deepened and strengthened.  There is nothing more important in this part of the world than what we are all doing here every day to keep and protect a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

And in the spirit of that cooperation and friendship, I wish every success to the Danish mission as they assume command during this historic year.

Thank you.