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Wolters nominated to command Air Forces Europe-Africa

The Air Force has ​announced its picks for the new commanders overseeing Europe and Africa, Central Command and the Air Staff.

Lt. Gen. Tod D. Wolters has been ​was nominated to be commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe-U.S. Air Forces Africa, according to a Defense Department release. He would also serve as commander for Allied Air Command and director of the Joint Air Power Competence Center at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. 

Wolters, poised to pin on his fourth star, is currently serving as director of operations for the Joint Staff at the Pentagon, assisting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford. 

If confirmed, Wolters would replace Gen. Frank Gorenc, who will retire this summer after commanding USAFE-AFAFRICA since 2013. 

As a command pilot, Wolters accrued more than 4,990 flying hours in the F-15C, F-22, OV-10, T-38 and A-10 aircraft, according to his biography. He flew in operations Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Throughout his 34 years of service, Wolters has commanded dozens of squadrons and wings including the 1st Operations Group, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia; the 485th Air Expeditionary Wing, Saudi Arabia; the 47th Flying Training Wing, Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas; and the 325th Fighter Wing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, among others. 

Defense Secretary Ash Carter also announced the following nominations: 

  • Air Force Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Harrigian for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and for assignment as commander, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Air Combat Command, Southwest Asia. Harrigian is currently serving as director of the F-35 Integration Office at Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon.
  • Air Force Maj. Gen. Stayce D. Harris for appointment to the rank of lieutenant general, and for assignment as assistant vice chief of staff, and director of the Air Staff at the Pentagon, Washington, District of Columbia​. Harris is currently serving as commander of the 22d Air Force, Air Force Reserve Command, at Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia.

Harrigian is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flight hours in the F-22, F-15C, A/OA-37 and MQ-1. He has flown combat missions in support of operations Just Cause and Desert Storm and also served as the deputy director for strategy, plans and assessments, U.S. Forces-Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and as the deputy director of operations at U.S. Central Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. Prior to his current assignment, he served as the assistant deputy chief of staff for operations.

Harris has commanded an airlift squadron, an expeditionary operations group and an air refueling wing. Her staff assignments include serving as a mobility force planner for the deputy chief of staff for plans and operations and as the individual mobilization augmentee to the deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force. Prior to her current position, Harris served as the mobilization assistant to the head of Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.

She would replace Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, who was fired after an investigation found he and a female lieutenant colonel were exchanging sexually suggestive emails between March 2010 and May 2011, while both were married.

The Air Force said last month while Hesterman was fired, and the female lt. col. also reprimanded, Hesterman will be able keep his rank and retirement pay.

Oriana Pawlyk covers deployments, cyber, Guard/Reserve, uniforms, physical training, crime and operations in the Middle East and Europe for Air Force Times. She was the Early Bird Brief editor in 2015. Email her at

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