ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. hosted the Chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff Lt. Gen. Viorel Pană for an official counterpart visit June 26 through 30. The visit recognized Romania as a valued NATO ally and advanced the strong and enduring bilateral defense relationship.
As part of the visit, Pană received a full honors arrival and was awarded a Legion of Merit at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling June 27. Pană attended both an office call and staff talks with Brown at the Pentagon and later participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
During their office call, Brown commended Romania for its vital contributions to European security, highlighting Romanian Air Force support to NATO’s Baltic Air Policing mission as an example of alliance solidarity in action.
The leaders also exchanged perspectives on Black Sea security and impacts to the region from Russia’s brutal war of choice against Ukraine.
“I want to thank Lt. Gen. Pană and the Romanian Air Force for their continued leadership role in the Black Sea area, and Romania as a whole for hosting thousands of U.S. and allied forces to bolster and defend NATO’s eastern flank,” Brown said.
The two sides further discussed Romanian Air Force modernization efforts, including its growing F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet and intent to acquire F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft, as well as future opportunities to increase cooperation and interoperability.
The office call was followed by staff talks to discuss matters of mutual importance. Topics included Black Sea security dynamics, force modernization, and integrating fourth and fifth-generation aircraft.
In addition to his engagements in the national capital region, Pană visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, for activities centered on Romania’s ongoing participation in the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. He also visited Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, to visit Air University for a series of briefings and meetings regarding AU capabilities and enlisted development. Pană is a member of the university’s International Honor Roll having graduated from Squadron Officer School in 1996.
“The future of global security is partnership, connectedness, and interoperability,” said Adjutant General of the Alabama National Guard U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Sheryl Gordon, “and this month marks three decades of Alabama Airmen working alongside Romanian partners toward that goal.”
“Alabama’s 187th Fighter Wing has flown F-16 and KC-135 [Stratotankers] training sorties side-by-side with the Romanian Air Force and we look forward to future advanced training opportunities as Romania continues its defense modernization program. We’re proud to be on the cutting edge of air superiority and international cooperation in the Black Sea region but that wouldn’t be possible without the close relationships formed by visits like this.”