Air force and Special Operations groups get new commanders

Col. Rauno Sirk is new Estonian Air Force chief.
Col. Rauno Sirk is new Estonian Air Force chief. Source: Postimees/Scanpix

Col. Rauno Sirk has been appointed new head of the Estonian Air Force (Eesti Õhuvägi), with Lt. Col. Margus Kuul becoming new Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) Special Operations Force chief.

The two appointments were signed into being by defense minister Jüri Luik (Isamaa), ERR's online news in Estonian reported Tuesday, with ceremonies marking the handovers taking place later this week.

Col. Sirk replaces Col. Riivo Valge, and Lt. Col. Kuul is replacement for Col. Riho Ütegi.

Maj. Gen. Martin Herem replaced Gen. Riho Terras as EDF head at the end of 2018. Terras subsequently went on to run for Isamaa in the March general election and May European elections, winning a "substitutes' bench" seat for the latter pending expansion of Estonia's MEP spots to seven, should the U.K. withdraw from the EU.

Col. Rauno Sirk was director of the Centre for Defence Investment (ECDI) for three years, formerly being Ämari Air Base commander and as deputy military representative for Estonia at NATO's Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) headquarters at Mons, Belgium.

He is a graduate of the National Defence Academy, formerly the National Defence College (KVÜÕA) and the U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs.

Lt. Col. Kuul has served as second-in-command of EDF's Special Operations and led the ESTPLA-12 Estonian infantry platoon in Iraq.

He is a graduate of the US Naval War College in Newport, RI, specializing in and irregular warfare, and has undertaken various specialist courses in that strenuous field.

Col. Valge will become head of administration at the Defence Academy, with Col. Riho Ühtegi continuing in his role as head of the volunteer Defence League (Kaitseliit).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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