News: Secretary of the Air Force visits airmen at FOB Union III
Story by Staff Sgt. Edward Daileg
BAGHDAD - The Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley visited airmen and key leaders at Forward Operating Base Union III, Sept. 6.
Upon his arrival here, Donley met with United States Forces – Iraq officials from the Deputy Commanding General (Advising and Training) headquarters where he discussed the progress of the U.S. Air Force training mission in Iraq.
After the meeting, three airmen received a coin of excellence from the Air Force Secretary after they were introduced by their leaders as superior performers within their respective sections.
“It was a true honor,” said Senior Airman Terence J. Manson, a San Antonio, Texas, native and a transportation logistics tracker with Iraq Security Assistance Mission. “It’s not every day you can be recognized by the Secretary of the Air Force during your deployment in Iraq.”
“It’s an absolute honor to be recognized by the Secretary of the Air Force,” said Air Force Master Sgt. Gilles Brochu, a native of Putnam, Conn., and a budget analyst with USF-I. “There are plenty of deserving Airmen at Union III, I'm thankful that my director nominated me, and to the Secretary of the Air Force for taking the time to show his appreciation.”
After recognizing the superior performers, Donley attended a luncheon at the Babylon Conference Center on FOB Union III where he spoke to Airmen about their careers and the training mission in Iraq.
“The training mission is extremely important to give the Iraqis the opportunity to take over the responsibility for their own security in their country,” said Donley.
Donley also added his appreciation for the Airmen and their families.
“I thank all the airmen for supporting the mission in Iraq and your families for supporting you during your deployment,” he said. “Your family’s support is an important contribution to our mission here.”
Following his remarks, Donley opened the floor to questions from the Airmen, who asked him about logistics, funding and retirement benefits.
Brochu, one of the airmen who asked a question, treasured the opportunity to speak to the Secretary of the Air Force.
“Having the Secretary of the Air Force address my question was a fantastic opportunity - an opportunity I hope other airmen take advantage of when it presents itself,” he said.
The airmen expressed their appreciation for Donley’s efforts to personally meet for updates about the Air Force and listen to their questions and concerns.
“It's great to see the Secretary of the Air Force traveling to different locations to meet with airman in our area of responsibility,” said Manson. “It shows the airmen that he cares for us and he supports us.”
“It was great that he made time to meet with airmen during his trip. It's nice to hear what's going on in our Air Force, right from the top,” said Brochu.
Donley concluded his visit by taking a group photo with all the airmen and thanking them one last time before departing.