“When Paul Schonenberg approached me with the idea of having all the resident ambassadors of NATO member states accredited in Luxembourg travel by air on board small sport aircraft to Spangdahlem, I did not hesitate for a second.
The idea took on a much deeper meaning after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine; it allowed us to show unity on security and defence issues and support for the base’s activities.
Looking back today at the communications between ambassadors in the group I set up for this purpose, I can say that the response was swift, positive and very inspiring. In retrospect, I admit that the combination of multiple responsibilities (co-organizer of the event, Czech Ambassador and pilot with passengers on board) was challenging, especially in the last days before the event and just before take-off.
Then it was pure joy, tempered only by the fact that the flight was so short.
The welcome by Wing Commander Leslie Hauck and his team was amazing; although his decision to undertake this project must have been very demanding – as it was the first time worldwide – I dare say that the whole event left a great impression not only on the visitors but also on our hosts.
Once again – thanks for everything and I wish you good wind and temperatures in the green for new challenges, Commander Hauck!”
Ambassador of the Czech Republic to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
“For two months I have been experiencing an internal struggle: whether to stick to the principle that it is man’s nature to tread the earth (and birds’ nature to fly) and go by car, or whether to fight my own fears and fly this little plane…. Temptations prevail! A great experience flying to Spangdahlem base, landing on the same strip as the best military aircraft in the world. Perfectly programmed visit and those photos with the organisers and colleagues against the backdrop of the machines – priceless! Thanks to everyone involved in the organisation!!!”
Ambassador, Republic of Poland to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
“It was a great honour to be invited to the base. I will never forget the flight there with such a wonderful view across the Luxembourgish and German villages of the Moselle. On arrival I was delighted to receive such a detailed briefing and very much enjoyed the aircraft tours. I was familiar with the F35 coming from the UK Ministry of Defence Exports team, so unlike everyone else I was much more fascinated by the less ‘Top Gun’ aircraft on display! Every staff member at the base was helpful and informative and you really were the most excellent hosts. The warm hospitality (as well as the so-American lunch) made for a really top notch experience. Thank you for the kind welcome from everyone on the base – it was a day to truly remember and a credit to your leadership.“
His Majesty’s Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
”One year passed since our historical flight from Luxemburg to Spangdahlem and I can only share even stronger thoughts of appreciation for standing firm and united, as Euro-Atlantic community, in defending our peace and democratic values, our stability, security and prosperity and the rules-based international order.
In the current international environment marked by the unjust and unprovoked Russian aggression against Ukraine, that Romania categorically condemns, our actions prove to be critical for ensuring the collective security of the Allies. We need to continue to put in practice a strategic and coherent vision to respond to such unprecedented challenges and to remain strong together and show mutual solidarity. We also have to work to consolidate our own security resilience, also understanding the importance of strengthening the defence and deterrence posture on the Eastern Flank, including at the Black Sea.
I extend my warmest thanks to all those dedicating their life to protecting our democratic values, our peaceful societies and our people.”
Romanian Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
“We all felt very privileged, flying into Spangdahlem with a flotilla of tiny little sports planes. On that memorable day we were allowed to see firsthand how Wing Commander Hauck was running his ‘shop’ in defense of our values and our freedom. It was a very memorable experience, which we will cherish. Wishing Commander Hauck all the best with his new assignment. We will remember his professionalism and leadership. Thank you, Sir!“
Ambassador of Belgium to Luxembourg
“The trip to Spangdahlem co-organized by our Czech colleague, Vladimir Bärtl, was a unique experience. We had the opportunity to discover tourist aviation and the aficionados of this sport in Luxembourg, as well as magnificent views of the countryside of the Grand Duchy and Trier. But it was above all the opportunity to discover the functioning of the Spangdahlem US Air Force Base. The Wing Commander, Leslie Hauck, and his team gave us the best of welcomes. Thanks to aerial demonstrations, technical explanations and strategic presentations, we were able to understand the importance of this base, its military capabilities as well as those of the Atlantic Alliance, two months after the Russian aggression in Ukraine.”