Tag Archives: CSAF

Congrats USAFA class of 2015!

By Air Force Social Media

The energy was electric at Falcon Stadium as 840 cadets graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy May 28, 2015 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James presided over the ceremony, and told the new officers that they are the next generation of Air Force leaders, and they will play important roles in the future of the service.
Browse through the photo gallery below to get an inside look at many of the highlights from class of 2015’s graduation.










CMSAF showcases Airmen on final day of AFA conference

By Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

The third and final day of the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington, D.C., was led by Vice Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld, Jr., Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody.

Winnefeld discussed the impact of sequestration on the military’s ability to meet its mission requirements and emphasized the Air Force’s role in national security. Welsh led a panel of Air Force senior leaders who answered a variety of questions on Air Force issues. Lastly, Cody shared his views on the service’s enlisted force and lauded Airmen for their contributions and achievements.

The day started with Winnefeld discussing the effect of the nation’s current fiscal challenges on military readiness.

“We need to balance our national security interests, the way the military goes about defending those interests and the financial means we use to defend those interests,” Winnefeld said. “We owe it to the taxpayer to always search for ways to become more efficient. It’s time for us to lean this business out, or we won’t have the means to protect this nation.”

Winnefeld praised the Air Force and its leadership for continuing to find innovative ways to balance operational requirements and stay combat-ready.

“If the Air Force were a stock, I’d be buying it right now,” he said. “Aim high, and give the Air Force the backing they need. Fly, fight and win.”

National Guard Bureau Chief Army Gen. Frank Grass followed up Winnefeld with a discussion about the future of the Guard as budget constraints change what resources they have to perform their diverse mission.

“Our mission hasn’t changed, but our vision is probably at risk because of sequestration,” Grass said.

According to Grass, the Guard’s operational forces include homeland operations, deployments, exercises and creating individual opportunities for Guardsmen to serve in other joint capacities.

“They want to maintain their relevance and be a resource to the Air Force and the nation,” he said.

One of Grass’s priorities is for the Guard to act as a responsible steward of the bureau’s resources.

“We must consolidate and prioritize our programs,” Grass said. “We have to re-double our efforts to be accountable for everything and everyone. We must take care of our people and organizations and support and sustain the National Guard community.”

Welsh and more than 10 other senior Air Force leaders answered a variety of questions about sequestration, science and technology, acquisitions, modernization, training, leadership and other issues.

Welsh stated he would like every commander and supervisor to feel like they are part of the decision-making process.

“We need commanders to command, supervisors to supervise and Airmen to lead,” Welsh said. “Common sense is the first standard we need to apply.”

Gen. Edward Rice, Air Education and Training commander, said he would like to see new training platforms for pilots to gain more insight into the Air Force’s next generation aircraft.

“We need a new, advanced trainer to be ready for a 5th generation system to continue to provide world class education and training for our Airmen,” Rice said.

CMSAF speaks about enlisted perspective
During Cody’s session to discuss the service’s enlisted force, his messages focused squarely on how Airmen are helping the Air Force win the fight, strengthening the team and shaping the future.

“Our Airmen are our greatest asset,” Cody said. “Airmen equal airpower, and we bring them in from across the globe. They all have great stories.”

Cody said he is immediately bringing Roll Call back to the Air Force to deliver messages to the field from senior Air Force leadership for Airmen to use as a topic of discussion when they gather for daily or weekly meetings.

PHOTO 1: Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh hosted a senior leader forum during the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Sept. 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

PHOTO 2: Army Gen. Frank Grass leads a discussion about today’s National Guard at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Technology Exposition Sept. 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Grass is the chief of the National Guard Bureau. (U.S. Air Force photo by Andy Morataya)

PHOTO 3: Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody discusses why deliberately developing Airmen is more important than ever at the Air Force Association’s 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition, Sept. 18, 2013, in Washington, D.C. Cody says training, education and experience are required to effectively develop Airmen. Cody’s role is to provide direction for the USAF enlisted corps and represent their interests to those in all levels of government. (U.S Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Nesha Humes)

Senior leaders send Airmen, families birthday best

The Air Force celebrates 66 years.Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody issued the following message to the Airmen of the United States Air Force:

On the 66th birthday of the United States Air Force, we salute the dedicated Airmen who provide airpower for America.

From 1947 to today, Airmen have accomplished our Service’s core missions – air and space superiority; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; rapid global mobility; global strike; and command and control. We have evolved into a Service that carries out missions through air, space and cyberspace, but our core missions have remained constant. Advances in technology now allow us to fly faster, farther and higher than ever before. We use aircraft and spacecraft that no one could have imagined at our Service’s creation, and we continue to provide an asymmetric advantage for America.

Airmen have been and continue to be the strength of our Service. The U.S. Air Force was forged by airpower legends with names like Sijan, Levitow, Jones and Day. These heroes and many others made history, and their legacy continues as today’s Airmen write the history of this generation. Decades from now, the names of Airmen among us today will be as familiar as the names of the earlier heroes we celebrate.

America depends on the Airmen who provide Global Vigilance, Global Reach and Global Power, and our remarkable Total Force of Active Duty, Guard, Reserve and Civilian Airmen has never failed to answer the Nation’s call. Please join us in proudly celebrating the 66th birthday of the U.S. Air Force. As always, we sincerely thank you and your families for all that you do.

Happy Birthday, Air Force!

Acting SECAF kicks off annual AFA conference

Tech. Sgt. Steve Grever
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Air Force Chief of Staff Mark A. Welsh III helped kick off the Air Force Association’s three-day Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition today. This is the largest air and space conference in the United States and includes more than 60 forums, panels and other keynote presentations. The Air Force Public Affairs Agency Social Media Division will provide readers daily blog posts during the conference to highlight Air Force senior leaders’ key discussions.

Fanning started the morning by touting innovation as the fabric of the service’s past and future. The secretary also commented on other key topics ranging from F-35 Lightning II and KC-46 Tanker programs to cyber, sequestration, strategic guidance and the future of defense structure. He also praised Airmen for their flexibility and resiliency and is optimistic about the Air Force’s future because of the quality of people who make up the world’s greatest Air Force.

Betty Welsh, Air Force Chief of Staff spouse, met with Air Force spouses and other family members during the AFA’s Spouse and Family Forum that focused on strengthening families by helping spouses overcome unique issues that come with military life. She also shared a couple personal stories about challenges the Welsh family faced during the chief of staff’s 36-year career.

The Command Chief Master Sergeants Forum addressed several audience topics including sequestration, sexual assault and leadership. While Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody was unable to attend, the chiefs in attendance spoke candidly and gave advice. Selfless leadership was a common theme among the panelists citing the purpose of developmental assignments as developing future Air Force leaders, not primarily helping Airmen improve personally. Selfless leadership also means getting to know your Airmen and their lives so that their potential can be maximized.

Some good advice for all Airmen was also offered. “You have to be open to all the opportunities,” Air Force Special Operations Command Command Chief William Turner said. “You’re getting experience. If your heart is in the right place and purposeful, good things will come.”

Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. James Jackson took the opportunity to update conference attendees on his plan for maintaining a combat-ready force during fiscal challenges being felt by every service in the Department of Defense. Jackson went into great detail about the Reserve’s operational capabilities, strategic depth and surge capabilities. He also gave the audience an overview on the Reserve’s current force structure and how he believes total force integration will lead to better communication and daily operations with each Air Force component.

We’ll bring you more coverage from the Air Force Association Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition tomorrow.

PHOTO 1: Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Air Force Association Chairman of the Board George K. Muellner kick off the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. The conference highlights excellence and outstanding achievement of the Air Force’s finest with the national aerospace awards program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Aaron Stout)

PHOTO 2: Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning gives his keynote address at the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

PHOTO 3: Chief of the Air Force Reserve Lt. Gen. James Jackson discussed the state of the Reserves and Air Force Reserve Command at the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

PHOTO 4: Command chief master sergeants from six major commands participated in a Command Chief Master Sergeants Forum at the 2013 Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 16, 2013, in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

A tribute to a warrior, patriot and hero to all Airmen

Col. George E. "Bud" Dayby Gen. Mark A. Welsh III
U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff

I am the very proud son of an American fighter pilot, one of that treasured group who served in three wars, built an Air Force, and gave it an enduring example of courage and mission success.

My dad was a hero. As a young man, I asked him who his combat heroes were; he gave me only two names. One was Major General Frederick “Boots” Blesse and the other was Colonel George E. “Bud” Day. My dad was not easily impressed, so I knew that if they were his heroes, they were very, very special men. I was right.

Earlier this year, my wife Betty and I had the distinct honor of attending Boots Blesse’s funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. And earlier this week, I heard that Col “Bud” Day had also “flown west.” Our Air Force is in mourning. We know we can never replace him, but today, as he is laid to rest, we can honor him.

Many of you know his story. He fought in the South Pacific as a United States Marine in WWII and later became the Air Force’s most highly decorated warrior. He was a Medal of Honor recipient with nearly 70 decorations, which span three wars and four decades.

The medals say a lot about Bud Day, but they cannot capture his unbreakable spirit, the life-saving impact he had on his fellow prisoners during his time in captivity, and the inspiration he has been to countless Americans who’ve been fortunate enough to have heard his story or shaken his hand.

In Vietnam in 1967, Major Day commanded a squadron of F-100s, the “Misty” FACs (Forward Air Controllers). Theirs was one of the most dangerous combat missions of the war, and they suffered high casualties.

On August 26 Day was shot down and captured. Seven days later, despite having a dislocated knee and a badly broken arm, he escaped captivity and evaded the Viet Cong for 10 days. He was recaptured just two miles from a U.S. Marine Corps camp at Con Thien. Getting so close to freedom only to be recaptured would have broken the will of most men. Not Bud Day.

He was eventually moved to a prison camp known as The Plantation, where he was tortured daily, and was later moved to the Hanoi Hilton. Due to his resistance and toughness, Day became an inspiration to other POWs. His roommate at The Plantation, Senator John McCain, wrote, “He was a hard man to kill, and he expected the same from his subordinates. They (his roommates) saved my life–a big debt to repay, obviously. But more than that, Bud showed me how to save my self-respect and my honor, and that is a debt I can never repay.”

In 1973, after more than five and a half years in captivity, he was released. The damage by the enemy permanently scarred his body, but his spirit emerged unbroken. A year later he was back on flight status, he became vice commander of the 33th Tactical Fighter Wing, and retired from active service in 1976.

Col Bud Day spent a great amount of his remaining years sharing his story with our Airmen, young and old. Over the past 22 years, many of those Airmen have experienced multiple combat deployments themselves, leaning on the lessons Col Day passed on to all of us, including his two sons, who proudly serve.

He deeply understood the challenges we face as a military service, “trying to keep America aware of the fact that Airpower has been a substantial reason that we exist as a free nation.”

I spoke with Col Day on the phone a couple of months ago, simply to introduce myself and thank him, on behalf of our entire Air Force, for his remarkable lifetime of service. I hung up feeling incredibly proud to be an Airman, and grateful that my real-life hero was even more impressive than I had imagined.

Future Airmen will honor his name and treasure his story, not because of the awards and buildings named in his honor, but for the legendary character, the unbreakable spirit and the values he demonstrated each and every day.

Airmen today strive to embody the same honor, courage, and integrity shown by Col Day and those who fought beside him. And we honor the sacrifices they made in the spirit of airpower and freedom.

“Push it up” Sir…we’re still following your lead.