News: US Air Force Chief of Staff visits Idaho Air National Guard
Story by Lt. Col. Gary Daniel
BOISE, Idaho - U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and his wife Betty touched down into the City of Trees Friday early afternoon to speak with nearly 900 Airmen of the 124th Fighter Wing, Gowen Field, Idaho. He arrived here after spending the past day and a half at Mountain Home AFB.
“We were pleased to welcome General Welsh to Gowen Field to visit with our Air National Guard personnel, tour our world-class facility and speak with elected leaders,” said Maj. Gen. Gary L. Sayler, Idaho Adjutant General.
Airmen from the Idaho Air National Guard briefed Gen. Welsh on the current status of the Guard and how it accomplishes its current federal and state missions.
Gen. Welsh then took the stage in an aircraft hangar flanked by two of the unit’s A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. He began by describing a few key components that help make the Air Force successful: pride, communication, and caring more. “Everybody in this room has a story. It’s a remarkable story. Some of them are inspirational. Some of them are a little sad. But each one is unique. I encourage you to learn the stories.”
He addressed the fiscal constraints on future Air Force operations and on the airmen who perform them.
At the conclusion of his speech, he opened the floor to questions. Tech. Sgt. Michelle Thompson asked about the likelihood of members from the 124th Fighter Wing and the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base ‘associating’ their units in efforts to assist budget cuts. Gen. Welsh said he believes that there is room for discussion, and now planners must look to the best way of doing it.
Gen. Welsh was born in San Antonio, Texas and is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and entered the Air Force in 1976. He currently serves as the Air Force’s Senior Uniformed Officer accountable for over 690,000 active duty, guard, reserve and civilian members that are currently serving both stateside and overseas. He has flown numerous aircraft; including the A-10—flown by the Idaho Air National Guard, with over 3,300 hours of flight.
Col. Tim Marsano and Senior Airman Cassie Morlock of the Idaho ANG contributed to this coverage.