The Commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, returned from a brief visit to the United States during which he met with the US Air Force senior command and security officials and furthered the strategic dialogue and operational coordination.
Among the senior members with whom he met: Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, General David L. Goldfein, Commander of the US Air Combat Command, General James M. Holmes, Deputy Secretary of Defense, Mr. John Rudd, Director for Strategy, Plans and Policy, Joint Staff General David W. Allvin and Head of the F35 Program, General Eric T. Fick.
The Commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin presented a regional strategic briefing before the senior officials regarding recent developments in the Middle East and the challenges the IDF is currently facing. The visit was important in furthering the understanding of IDF interests, especially in light of the current volatility. The visit also contributed to understanding of the IAF's needs regarding future aid agreements and the continuation of cooperation in the F-35 Program.
Norkin said, "The cooperation between the Israeli Air Force and the United States Air Force currently stand at an unprecedented point as far as depth and operational relevance are concerned."
General Goldfein said, "The USAF brings with it a multitude of operational capabilities while the IAF brings speed, flexibility and operational experience. The integration of the two forces leads to better defense for both nations".
As part of the visit, the Commander of the IAF, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin was awarded the US Legion of Merit. The Legion of Merit is a US Military Decoration awarded to exceptionally worthy commanders for their service and accomplishments.
The Commander of the IAF was awarded with the decoration as a symbol of the close relationship between the two militaries and as a mark of gratitude to the IDF and the IAF for the close cooperation with the US military.
The text of the certificate that accompanied the award said:
"For exceptionally meritorious service as Commander of the Israel Air Force, from 14 August 2017 to 29 August 2019. During this period, General Norkin's exemplary leadership and vision significantly enhanced the cooperation and partnership between the United States and Israel. General Norkin directed and oversaw the achievement of F-35 "Adir" operational capability for both the Block 3i and 3F aircraft. This significant milestone guaranteed Israel's Qualitative Military Edge in the Middle East region while greatly contributing to the security of the State of Israel. General Norkin's strong support for the Senior National Representative forum encompassing operational, maintenance, logistics, munitions, medical, safety and science and technology cooperation continues to reap mutual benefits to United States Air Force and Israel Air Force Airman. These interactions contribute to improved operational readiness and effectiveness. General Norkin's strategic vision for the future of the Israeli Air Force was the driving force for hosting the Israel Senior Air Force Conference in May 2018, showcasing the impressive capabilities of the Israel Air Force while promoting improved relationships with senior Air Force leaders from the United States, Europe and Asia. General Norkin's mandate for maintaining top level operational readiness has the Israel Air Force continuing to hone warfighting skills through numerous combined large forces exercises with the United States Air Force including the RED FLAG ALASKA, ADVANCED AIR CREW TACTICS AND TRAINING COURSE, BLUE FLAG, JUNIPER COBRA and JUNIPER FALCON. These exercises advance the cooperation and knowledge of both air forces while improving the effectiveness of all airmen. General Norkin's superior efforts, outstanding leadership, and personal initiative reflect great credit upon himself, the Israel Air Force, and his country.