Gates to make brief trip to Germany to visit troops
US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates will supervise a change in leadership for the US European Command.Washington -- US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates will visit Germany on Tuesday for a brief trip to oversee a change in command at the head of US forces in Europe, and to visit US soldiers injured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Tuesday in Stuttgart, Admiral James Stavridis will take over from General John Craddock as head of the US European Command (EUCOM) at a ceremony in the southeastern German town.
Admiral Stavridis, 54, was previously head of the US Southern Command, based in Florida.
Like his predecessor, Stavridis will assume command of US forces in the region at a particularly delicate time for NATO.
The alliance's credibility is being seriously tested by its engagement in Afghanistan, where Taliban fighters are successfully spreading violence across the country ahead of key presidential elections in August.
Gates will also visit Landstuhl, site of the biggest US military hospital outside of the United States, where he will meet with US military personnel wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.