Thursday, July 17, 2014

ACC commander holds all call at Homestead

by Maj. Brooke Cortez
482nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/16/2014 - HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. -- General Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, held an all call here July 14.

The general discussed sequestration challenges as well as efforts to ensure continued air superiority through replacing legacy fleets and selectively refurbishing existing assets.

"We live in a world of limited resources," Hostage said. "It's an interesting and unstable world... bad stuff is going to happen and we're going to be called upon to respond, and we're going to have to be ready."

Preventing a hollow force is one of the overarching principles outlined in the 2014 ACC Strategic Plan. Hostage discussed how he's prepared to accept the short term risk of minimally maintaining current aviation assets to fund development of an advanced air fleet.

Currently, the 482nd Fighter Wing here supports the ACC combat mission with 26 F-16 aircraft. Looking toward the future, it is postured to eventually transition to the F-35 next-generation airframe.

According to the ACC Strategic Plan, potential adversaries are acquiring or developing the means to challenge the U.S. military and threaten the U.S. homeland. Hostage noted that investing in advanced fleets of aviation will help ensure the military is prepared for future threats.

The wing is the host unit for an Active Duty unit integrated under the Total Force Integration (TFI) initiative. The general commented that the Air Force is committed to the TFI path of 'One Wing, One Boss, One Fight.' One of the challenges of TFI the general outlined was getting outdated legislation updated regarding regulations on use of a militia force, which impacts the Air National Guard.

The all call was concluded with Hostage sharing his perspective on service, and how the country and military has changed throughout his 37-year career.

"What's unique about our society is that we have a Bill of Rights that gives individuals unalienable rights that cannot be taken away by the majority," he said. "The reason we're all sitting here today is because somebody put on a uniform generations ago, fought and died to protect us, to protect that flickering flame of liberty."

The general calculated that just 5 percent of the entire world's population throughout history has experienced what it's like to live with liberty, and that people in the military represent a fraction of that population.

The community is extremely supportive of the military, and Hostage described what many uniformed military members experience out in public today.

"The good news is that the American public today appreciates what we do," he said. "You can wear your uniform in public - in an airport, you can't go 20 paces without someone thanking you for your service. That wasn't the case when I came in 37 years ago. I was not allowed to wear my uniform unless I was inside the ROTC building because people would throw stuff at us. The American public associated the politics of war with the warrior. That's not the case today."

Along with a supportive community, Hostage explained how he always makes a point of thanking members for their service.

"I try to make it a point to tell our Airmen that your service is important," he said. "You're preserving something that is really unique in our in human history and that's liberty. You're preserving it for future generations, so thank you for serving and doing what you do for your country."

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