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12th AF unveils Combined Air Operations Center at D-M

Ms. Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, General James Doolittle’s granddaughter, and Maj. Gen. (Retired) David Jones, a "Doolittle Raider," cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the General James H. Doolittle Center here May 9.

Ms. Jonna Doolittle Hoppes, General James H. Doolittle’s granddaughter, and Maj. Gen. (Retired) David Jones, a "Doolittle Raider," cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the General James H. Doolittle Center here May 9. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alesia Goosic)

DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Headquarters Twelfth Air Force and Air Forces Southern unveiled the U.S. Air Forces' newest Falconer, the Gen. James H. Doolittle Combined Air and Space Operations Center, today during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The CAOC is the "nerve-center" for the Combined or Joint Forces Air Component Commander (C/JFACC) and serves as the hub of all air and space activities during combat and humanitarian operations.

"This world-class facility will serve as the home of the only continuously operational Falconer in the continental United States -- we're proud to be facilitators of such an essential weapons system," said Lt. Gen. Norman Seip, commander, Twelfth Air Force and Air Forces Southern.

The 612th Air Operations Group runs the centers day-to-day activities including disseminating and monitoring air tasking orders for on going operation in Central and South America.

The CAOC serves as the air and space component to U.S. Southern Command. The command and control capabilities of the new facility provides the Southern Command commander a tremendous capability. Staffed by a total force of Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines it is responsible for maintaining the air picture for the Southern Command, in Central and South America, as well as Caribbean operations.

"This newest CAOC will provide a tremendous capability to plan, command, control, execute, and assess both U.S. and coalition air and space operations throughout Southern Command's area of operations," said Col. John Marselus, CAOC and 612th Air Operations Group commander.

The new facility is one of five "Falconer" CAOC weapons systems used to support geographic combatant commanders worldwide-- this designates an air operations center that is fully connected and capable of facilitating air, space and information operations worldwide. The other Falconer CAOCs are located in Southwest Asia, Europe, Korea and Hawaii. Each Air Operations Center has responsibility over a specified geographic location and mission.

"The Combined Air Operations Center weapons system at Davis-Monthan is designed to support operations worldwide," added General Seip. "This CAOC is up and running helping to execute operations in the US Southern Command region, but we're ready for any contingency."

The 12th AF CAOC was officially named the General James H. Doolittle Center in honor of General James H. Doolittle, 12th Air Force's first commander and the Doolittle Raiders, for their heroic actions during World War II. The ribbon cutting and naming of the new CAOC building comes just as the Doolittle Raiders Celebrate their 65th anniversary of their skillful attack on the Japanese mainland -- a significant airpower mission in U.S. military history.

Doolittle Raider, Maj. Gen. (retired) David Jones, who in 1942 was shot down over Bizerte, North Africa, and spent two and a half years as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III, attended the event and said the "old guy" (General Doolittle), would have been honored.

Families and friends of the Doolittle Raiders were also among the guest in attendance. A 1940s-era Army Air Forces B-25B bomber, like the ones flown by the Doolittle Raiders, performed two flyovers during the ceremony.