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News | March 7, 2013

Etter takes over reins of First Air Force

By First Air Force Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - In a ceremony filled with traditions older than the Air Force itself, command of Continental U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command Region-First Air Force (Air Forces Northern) changed Thursday afternoon in front of a formation of Airmen and distinguished guests.

During the ceremony, officiated by Gen. Charles Jacoby Jr., commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, Lt. Gen. William Etter assumed command from Lt. Gen. Stanley E. Clarke III. General Clarke is moving on to become the Director of the Air National Guard in Washington D.C.

"Lieutenant General Etter arrives at this command with a robust level of experience and he gets things done," Clarke said in parting remarks. "I can't think of a better officer to replace me here at CONR-1st Air Force."

During the ceremony Clarke was presented the Distinguished Service Medal.

Etter comes to Tyndall from the Pentagon, where he was the Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters.

"This organization has three missions, three names, and I will wear nine hats as the commander," said Etter. "But this command is not one person; it is a team of Active, Guard, Reserve, Canadian Forces, and interagency partners and I am looking forward to working with all of you."

Etter also said he looks forward to continuing the strong bonds forged by Clarke between the CONR/AFNORTH and Tyndall families.

As the Joint Force Air Component Commander for NORAD and USNORTHCOM, the 1st Air Force commander is directly responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting full-spectrum U.S. Air Force air and space operations in CONUS, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as over the maritime approaches to the United States. The organization is also responsible for providing Defense Support of Civil Authorities as the air component to USNORTHCOM. Additionally, the 601st Air & Space Operations Center falls under the 1st Air Force commander's direction, which plans, directs and assesses air and space operations for NORAD and USNORTHCOM.