SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany – Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody and their spouses visited Spangdahlem Air Base to meet with Airmen and their families Aug. 1.
During their visit to the 52nd Fighter Wing, Welsh and Cody received a mission brief, participated in an open discussion during lunch with Airmen, and hosted an Airman’s call to address some of the top issues the Air Force is facing today.
Among the topics were sequestration, deployments and Spangdahlem Air Base’s support of U.S. interests in Europe and the Middle East.
Prior to the Airman’s call, a few outstanding performers were coined and praised by Welsh for their hard work and dedication. He also publicly recognized local national employee Michael Hill, 52nd Civil Engineer Squadron, and Chi Anne McGrew, School Liaison Officer and key spouse member, for their excellence and innovation in the workplace.
“You make us proud each and every day, and this is one of the rare opportunities we get to directly thank you for what you do,” Welsh said to more than a thousand Airmen and their families gathered in an open hangar.
Welsh also took the time to recognize the recent passing of Vietnam War hero George ‘Bud’ Day, whose funeral took place today in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.
“What an incredible life, what an incredible career, what an incredible airman. An example, and a role and hopefully an inspiration for all of us,” said Welsh. “Col. ‘Bud’ Day embodied what it means to be an airman.”
Welsh and Cody have been working diligently with Department of Defense leaders, as well as Congress, to identify across-the-board, cost-cutting measures to deal with the realities of sequestration.
“Know how much faith we have in you,” said Cody. “There's a lot of uncertainty, but I ask you to stay focused and keep your eye on the goal. You are doing great work for our Air Force.”
"People are tired. Families are tired,” Welsh said. “But bottom line is that we'll still be the best Air Force in the world.”
During the all-call, Welsh also discussed the impact that furlough is having on civilian employees and the mission.
“Civilian furlough is horrible, it's a breach of faith, and I am sorry,” Welsh said. “The Secretary [of the Air Force] and I are working on this every day.”
Before his appointment to Chief of Staff, Welsh was the U.S. Air Forces in Europe-U.S. Air Force Africa commander, where he gained insight of how important air assets are to securing U.S. and NATO interests.
“Spangdahlem Air Base can't go away,” Welsh said of the mission that operates out of the base. “We can't sustain airlift operations for the Middle East without both Ramstein and Spangdahlem. Spangdahlem is not going anywhere.”
For more about the Chief of Staff’s visit to Spangdahlem Air Base, go to youtube.com/user/spangdahlemairbase and spangdahlem.dodlive.mil.