Military News

Friday, March 13, 2015

ACC Commander visits Creech, recognizes exceptional performer

by Staff Sgt. Adawn Kelsey
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

3/13/2015 - CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, his wife Mrs. Gillian Carlisle, and Chief Master Sgt. Steve McDonald, ACC Command Chief, paid a visit to Las Vegas and Creech AFB, Nevada, March 3-4, 2015.

While visiting the area, the trio took the opportunity to meet with Airmen and families, say 'thank you' to those serving, and talk about the successes and challenges of the Air Force's remotely piloted aircraft community.

The first stop during their two-day visit was a family forum held at the local YMCA to address issues concerning the families and dependents of the Creech Airmen - a key topic throughout the two-day long visit. Items up for discussion included childcare options, transportation, medical care, manning and work schedules, and security issues.  Carlisle joined Col. James Cluff, 432nd Wing Commander, Col. Richard Neal, 799th Air Base Group Commander and other leadership members took note of the issues, answered questions to the best of their abilities, and promised to elevate new issues and ideas to higher Air Force leadership.

Referencing an uplifting story of resiliency, Carlisle requested that spouses stay engaged with each other to connect with those who may be experiencing similar challenges and continue to express their concerns to base leadership in order to better the entire Team Creech family.

McDonald said getting engaged and staying engaged with the families is a top priority for himself, as well as for the general and his wife.

"It is important for the general, Mrs. Carlisle, and I to be here today to engage with the families and to have a discussion," McDonald said. "We need you to continue to talk to us and tell us what the challenges are, and the one thing I would personally ask of families, is to continue to have faith in the leadership of our Air Force. They know, they understand, they care, and they're trying to do everything they can to meet these challenges."

The challenges discussed with families tied in closely with three specific priorities Carlisle outlined during an all call on base at Creech the day after the family forum. His main priories for ACC include winning today's fight, building the best Air Force in the world, and taking care of Airmen and their families. He said setting the right priorities at all levels is essential.

"At all levels, from the Secretary of Defense to the chief and myself, to General Nowland, to Colonel Cluff, to group commanders, to squadron commanders; all the way down we've got to set priorities, because some things are quite simply not going to get done," he said. "We have more requirements and demands then we have money, manpower, or time ... I cannot think of an enterprise that is in more demand than yours."

In discussing winning today's fight, Carlisle asked the Airmen to think about the breadth and depth of what ACC does and how the RPA community supports the command. As the largest command in the Air Force with about 100,000 people, ACC is responsible for five core functions including air superiority, global precision attack, global integrated intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, command and control, and personnel recovery.

"[We're experiencing] a different environment, a different way of war, an evolution of how we fight," Carlisle said. "The RPA community is something that we do, and we do it better than anybody in the world."

Looking at the strategy moving forward, Carlisle acknowledged the Air Force is facing difficult times and stated that in order to win today's fight everyone has to be prepared to do the mission.

"The nation is asking each and every one of you to continue to do what you are doing today," he said. "You have been doing the 24/7, 365-day mission for almost two decades. My job is to make sure that any Airman I ask to do a mission is trained, ready, and equipped to do the mission I am asking them to do."

Carlisle also said the 432nd Wing is a topic of conversation nearly every day since he took command of ACC in November 2014, and he applauded the Airmen for their creativity and ingenuity and for setting the pace to win today's fight.

"The leadership in the Air Force has turned all of you lose to figure out better ways to do things and you've already done that," he said. "My hat's off to you. If you look at the evolution of the platform from what it was to what it is today, almost every one of those ideas came from folks like you. Innovate, set priorities, and I've got your back."

Near the conclusion of the call, Carlisle opened the floor for questions during which time McDonald took the opportunity to ask the general if he knew of any Airmen who exemplified Air Force standards.

Carlisle responded by summoning Staff Sgt. James Williamson, 432nd Wing, to the stage, where he was promoted to technical sergeant under the Stripes for Exceptional Performers program.

"There are some cool things I get to do in the Air Force, but this is the coolest," he said. "Congratulations James, we are awfully proud of you. It is incredible and definitely well deserved ... Thank you for what you do."

In parting, Carlisle said he loves what he does, and the vast importance of the Air Force's various missions is just one of the many reasons he has stayed in the service for 40 years.

"You don't always see it ... But I guarantee you that what you do changes lives," he said. "It changes the world and it defends what our nation stands for, which is a beacon of hope throughout this world."

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