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 Mar 17 2022

Change of Command at the Joint Support and Enabling Command in Ulm

Ulm, Germany – Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank assumed command of the Joint Support and Enabling Command (JSEC) from its first commander, Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe in a Change of Command ceremony held at Wilhelmsburg Barracks on Thursday, March 17, 2022.

Military members and civilians from across 23 allied nations and various partners attended the ceremonial passing of the colours, signifying the transfer of command from one officer to the next. Distinguished guests, among others, included: Gunter Czisch, Mayor of Ulm, General Eberhard Zorn, German Chief of Defence, and Dr. Eva Högl, Parliamentary Commissioner of the German Armed Forces.

After Three Truly Excellent Years I Now Bid Farewell

"It has been a great honour for me to be the first commander of the JSEC, to serve shoulder-to-shoulder with members of our allied and partner nations," Knappe said, "After three truly excellent years I now bid farewell. It has been a most rewarding tour of duty, both professionally and personally."

The Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Admiral Joachim Rühle, presided over the ceremony, where he welcomed Sollfrank and shared his gratitude for Knappe's three years as Commander JSEC in Ulm.

Amidst the challenges of the dramatically changing security environment in Eastern Europe, both Rühle and Knappe reflected on the strong cohesion and the importance of JSEC's role within NATO.

"I am convinced the Alliance has set a credible signal of deterrence and I hope the war in Ukraine will be settled as soon as possible," Rühle emphasized and addressed Knappe, "Establishing a headquarter of this size is a herculean task you have mastered in exemplary fashion."

Sollfrank, the new commander, stressed his intention to continue the efforts his predecessor has achieved and Germany's committment as framework nation.

Assuming Command of the JSEC is a True Privilege

"Assuming command of the Joint Support and Enabling Command is a true privilege, especially at this challenging time," said Sollfrank, "It represents Germany's strong committment to NATO and the close link to our Allies and partners in an increasingly complex security environment."

He recently served as Chief of Staff, German Army Command, headquartered at Strausberg, Germany, and Commander, Special Operations Forces Command at Calw, Germany.

Sollfrank also assumed command of Multinational Joint Headquarters Ulm (MN JHQ) in the course of a second ceremony, presided by the commander of the German Joint Support and Enabling Service, Lieutenant General Martin Schelleis. The roles of the Commander JSEC and MN JHQ are held simultaneously with an aim to increase interoperability and strengthen NATO's and EU's collective defence.

Lieutenant General Knappe retires from the German Air Force with over forty years of military service. In the evening, he was honoured by a Grand Tattoo, a German traditional military ceremonial, reserved for highest dignitaries.

I Leave With Very Fond Memories of my Time in Ulm

"I would like to thank all those who have supported me during my command and I wish them all the very best for the future." reflected Knappe, "I leave with very fond memories of my time in Ulm and I know the next commander, Alexander Sollfrank, will be very well supported by the JSEC team."

Story by Joint Support and Enabling Command

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Many honorable guests followed the invitation to the Joints Support and Enabling Command Change of Command Ceremony March 17, 2022 at Wilhelmsburg Barracks, Ulm, Germany. (JSEC photo).
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Commander of the German Joint Support and Enabling Service, Lieutenant General Martin Schelleis, gives the Multinational Joint Headquarters flag to Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank during the JSEC Change of Command Ceremony March 17, 2022 at Wilhelmsburg Barracks, Ulm, Germany. (JSEC photo)
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Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Admiral Joachim Rühle, receives the Joint Support and Enabling Command flag from Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe during the JSEC Change of Command Ceremony March 17, 2022 at Wilhelmsburg Barracks, Ulm, Germany. (JSEC photo)
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Chief of Staff Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Admiral Joachim Rühle (left), Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe (middle left),Lieutenant General Alexander Sollfrank (middle right), and Lieutenant General Martin Schelleis (right), Commander of the German Joint Support and Enabling Service, during the Change of Command Ceremony March 17, 2022 at the Joint Support and Enabling Command. (JSEC photo)
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Lieutenant General Knappe retires from the German Air Force with over forty years of military service. In the evening, he was honoured by a Grand Tattoo, a German traditional military ceremonial, reserved for highest dignitaries. (JSEC photo)
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