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SecAF, CMSAF visit Southwest Asia

by Staff Sgt. Timothy Boyer
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

1/3/2013 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy visited the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Dec. 29 and 30, as part of an overall trip to U.S. Air Forces Central Command's area of responsibility to thank Airmen for their service during the holidays.

'It's been said many times, and it remains true, that our Airmen and their families make countless sacrifices to serve our Air Force and the nation, and to keep America secure,' Donley said. 'This means that, once again this year, thousands of Airmen and service members are spending the holidays far from home. During the holidays, please know that all Americans are holding you in their thoughts and prayers.'

Donley also commended Airmen for their contributions to the mission and highlighted some of the 380th AEW's achievements.

'This is an impressive operation by any standard,' Donley said. 'All of these accomplishments and activities have been truly impressive and reflect your commitment, and that of your predecessors, to excellence in this mission.'

These accomplishments include the largest deployment of KC-10 Extenders providing 54 percent of the fuel for Operation Enduring Freedom. Additionally, the wing maintains the record for the most gallons moved to and from aircraft in any month.

The Air Force leaders toured various work centers, interacting with numerous Airmen and learning about the 380th AEW missions.

'It was a great opportunity to listen and learn from our leaders,' said Senior Airman Michael Genther, 380th Expeditionary Medical Group, one of the Airmen who had the opportunity to meet Donley and Roy.

In addition to visiting work centers around the wing, Donley and Roy held an 'Airman's call,' highlighting their impressions of the wing and sharing some of the major challenges facing the Air Force today.

'Many of you come from individual Air Force bases that feature a specific capability of our Air Force,' Donley stated. 'It is an impressive sight to see all of our Air Force capabilities represented at a place like [this].'

Following Donley, the chief master sergeant of the Air Force spoke about suicide prevention and the importance of standards.

Roy explained that relationships are an important factor in Airman morale. He followed by explaining that communication is needed in all relationships and emphasized the importance of balancing technology and face-to-face communication.

'We need to get back to the basics - communication and relationships, I think that's what will get us through,' Roy said. 'There is plenty of help out there. You matter to us and you certainly matter to your families.'

Roy then discussed Air Force standards and the role they play in preventing sexual assault. He explained that the first step is for the Air Force to identify and accept the problem and begin working on solutions.

'It's not going to be the Secretary of the Air Force, Chief of Staff, or policy that's going to change this,' Roy said. 'It's going to be every one of us. We've got to work together on this.'

As his last trip to the AOR before retirement in January, Roy also took a moment to look back on how the Air Force has evolved during his career.

'Reflecting back almost 31 years, I couldn't be more proud of the United States Air Force than I am today,' he said. 'Sixty-eight percent of the force today has come in after 9/11, in other words, in a time of war. That says an awful lot about you. It says an awful lot about your character. Thank you for what you do.'

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