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Ceremony recognizes new NATO members

NATO Allied Air Component Command officials at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, salute during a flag ceremony April 8 marking the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of the alliance. Shown are (l to r) Warrant Officer Tim van der Loght, AACC's senior noncommissioned officer; Maj. Gen. Jon Abma, AACC's chief of staff; Air Marshal David Walker, AACC deputy commander; and Gen. Roger A. Brady, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and AACC. (Defense Department photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

NATO Allied Air Component Command officials at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, salute during a flag ceremony April 8 marking the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of the alliance. Shown are (l to r) Warrant Officer Tim van der Loght, AACC's senior noncommissioned officer; Maj. Gen. Jon Abma, AACC's chief of staff; Air Marshal David Walker, AACC deputy commander; and Gen. Roger A. Brady, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and AACC. (Defense Department photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

Staff Sgt. Leonard Sherwood (left) and Airman 1st Class Willie Johnson (right) join Royal Netherlands Air Force Sergeant Major Martin Cuiter to hoist the Croatian flag during a ceremony April 8 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, marking the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of NATO. (Defense Department photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

Staff Sgt. Leonard Sherwood (left) and Airman 1st Class Willie Johnson (right) join Royal Netherlands Air Force Sergeant Major Martin Cuiter to hoist the Croatian flag during a ceremony April 8 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, marking the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of NATO. (Defense Department photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

Gen. Roger A. Brady (foreground), commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO Allied Air Component Command, salutes as (l-r) Polish air force Staff Sgt. Arek Sarkowski, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Andrew Tucker and Belgian air force Adjutant Philip Van Huyck hoist the Albanian flag during a ceremony April 8 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to recognize the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of NATO. (Defense Department photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

Gen. Roger A. Brady (foreground), commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO Allied Air Component Command, salutes as (l-r) Polish air force Staff Sgt. Arek Sarkowski, U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Andrew Tucker and Belgian air force Adjutant Philip Van Huyck hoist the Albanian flag during a ceremony April 8 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to recognize the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of NATO. (Defense Department photo/Master Sgt. Scott Wagers)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany (AFNS) -- A flag ceremony marking the accession of Croatia and Albania as the 27th and 28th members of NATO was held April 8 at Allied Air Component Command Headquarters Ramstein.

Gen. Roger A. Brady, commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe and NATO Allied Air Component Command at Ramstein officiated the ceremony with Air Marshal David Walker, AACC deputy commander; Maj. Gen. Jon Abma, AACC chief of staff; and Warrant Officer Tim van der Logt, AACC senior noncommissioned officer.

A six-member allied color guard detail composed of Belgian, Dutch, Polish and U.S. airmen hoisted the two flags to complete a formation of 28 flag poles that stand outside the AACC headquarters building that was constructed in April 2005.

The two Balkan states formally joined the alliance April 1 in Washington. The NATO Alliance began in 1949 with 12 states and has increased its membership to 28 countries through six rounds of enlargement. The last countries to gain acceptance as allied partners were Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia in December 2002.

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