Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, 57, commander of U.S. Air Force personnel in Europe and Africa since July 2012, is President Barack Obama’s choice to head the NATO command. From June 2002 to June 2004, Breedlove was the wing commander at Luke AFB.
Breedlove has flown combat missions in Operation Joint Forge/Joint Guardian. He is a command pilot with 3,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-16.
If Breedlove is nominated and confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who has been head of NATO since 2009. Breedlove would also be the first Air Force general to hold the top NATO position since 2000-2003.
Prior to assuming his current position, Breedlove served Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. As Vice Chief, he presided over the Air Staff and served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group. He assisted the Chief of Staff with organizing, training, and equipping of 680,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. General Breedlove has flown combat missions in Operation Joint Forge/Joint Guardian. He is a command pilot with 3,500 flying hours, primarily in the F-16.
Charley Freericks, Immediate Past Chairman of the FCP Board, knew Breedlove well, and commented on his selection as NATO chief.
Freericks said, “As a former wing commander of Luke AFB, he’s well known and part of our family, the Luke community. He’s a great man and a great leader, and I’m proud for him.
“I’ve met him because of things here. He is one of the founding fathers of FCP in its reborn condition. He was very involved in Fighter Country here before I was involved.
“He’s a good leader, very fair and smart guy. I think he’s a great choice.”
Breedlove was raised in Forest Park, Ga., and was commissioned in 1977 as a distinguished graduate of Georgia Tech’s ROTC program. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions, and has completed nine overseas tours, including two remote tours. He has commanded a fighter squadron, an operations group, three fighter wings, and a numbered air force. Additionally, he has served as operations officer in the Pacific Command Division on the Joint Staff; executive officer to the Commander of Headquarters Air Combat Command; the senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force; and Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy on the Joint Staff.
Assignments since May 2000
- June 2001 – June 2002, senior military assistant to the Secretary of the Air Force, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
- June 2002 – June 2004, Commander, 56th Fighter Wing, Luke AFB, Ariz.
- June 2004 – June 2005, Commander, 31st Fighter Wing, Aviano AB, Italy
- June 2005 – October 2006, Vice Commander, 16th Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany
- October 2006 – July 2008, Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
- July 2008 – August 2009, Commander, 3rd Air Force, Ramstein AB, Germany
- August 2009 – January 2011, Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Plans and Requirements, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
- January 2011 – July 2012, Vice Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C.
- July 2012 – present, Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Africa; Commander, Air Component Command, Ramstein Air Base, Germany; and Director, Joint Air Power Competency Center, Ramstein.
Summary of Joint Assignments
- July 1991 – May 1993, Chief of Air Operations, United Nations Command and Republic of Korea/U.S. Combined Forces Command, Yongsan Army Garrison, South Korea, as a major
- June 1995 – July 1997, operations officer, U.S. Pacific Command Division, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as a lieutenant colonel
- October 2006 – July 2008, Vice Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Staff, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., as a major general