As commander of Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, I lead an organization of some 80,000 military members and civilian employees whose work touches every aspect of the Air Force. Hill Air Force Base is one of the bases in my command.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- For many, gathering with friends and family for the holidays often leads to discussions of the things we are thankful for. As you think about the blessings you've enjoyed in the past year, I ask that you also remember the men and women who defend our freedom, one of the greatest gifts of all.
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio --- Because we are Airmen, and are surrounded by the military on a daily basis, it can sometimes be easy to forget how incredibly significant it is to be a veteran. The approximately 22 million living veterans in this country make up only about 7 percent of the population. And less than 1 percent of Americans actively serve in the military at any time.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Budget, Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Al Flowers, used to profess that remaining calm through fiscal and financial uncertainty will allow leaders around our service to clearly identify the best way to continue mission success through tough times.
In the next few weeks, the organization that is the 309th Maintenance Wing will ceremonially inactivate and furl its guidons, then pick up and continue working as part of the new Ogden Air Logistics Complex.
Our wing began as the Maintenance Directorate, led by Gene Hathenbruck, followed by the 309th MXW, led by Brig. Gen. Robert McMahon, Brig. Gen. Art Cameron, Brig. Gen. John Cooper and Sue Dryden. I am proud to have served in this honorable lineage.
Two recent stories on the Air Force's web page drew significant reaction in the site's comments section. Both a story on finance troops being awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the news that Air Force Space Command was ending wear of flight suits by non-aircrew personnel drove more comments than any story I've ever read on the site. One attracted so many negative comments; the comments themselves became the subject of a story in Air Force Times. The reason for the publicity wasn't the sheer number of comments, but their nature.
On March 6, the Air Force released a Force Structure Announcement that details force structure and manpower impacts from decisions the Air Force has made in support of the new Department of Defense strategy and the President's Fiscal Year 2013 budget that reduces Air Force Active Duty, Guard and Reserve positions by 9,900. This follows announcements this past November and January of some 12,100 civilian position reductions across the Air Force.
At the risk of committing the journalistic sin of cliche in my commentary, I'll use the recentness of the Super Bowl to justify my use of a sports analogy to illustrate my point. Every year when I watch the big game, I remember my favorite play of all time and hope for a similar moment that would so greatly influence me that I would remember it decades later. It didn't come during New York's defeat of New England, but the game did give me cause to reflect on what I consider one of the greatest moments in Super Bowl history.
Building upon the success of the 2011 "Year of the Community College of the Air Force" (YoCCAF), AFMC will continue the initiative for 2012 and beginning this month will launch into the "Year of Continuing Education" (YoCE). Continuing education benefits all of us -- officer, enlisted and Air Force civilians -- at every point in our careers. Effective Airmen and Air Force civilians continue to learn throughout their careers.
Duty, honor, country: these words are just as significant today as they were in the past. As Air Force Materiel Command continues to equip warfighters, these words have strengthened our resolve and prepared us for the future.
All the great wars fought at home and abroad transformed this country, making it strong and dedicated to the cause of freedom. Many of the veterans of these conflicts paid the highest price, and it is on Veterans Day that we pause and say, "I remember."