by Capt. Alexis McGee
501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
7/23/2015 - RAF CROUGHTON, UNITED KINGDOM -- He couldn't sleep.
The sheer thought of disappointing his team: his wingmen, his brothers
and sisters in arms, is the thought that keeps him up at night, striving
to forge a better U.S. Air Force.
Driven by his determination to be the best wingman he can, Gen. Mark A.
Welsh III said it's all about having dedication to the people who make
this Air Force exceptional.
"There is never a bad day to be the Chief of Staff of the Air Force,"
said Welsh during a round-table discussion with company grade officers,
July 16 at RAF Croughton, United Kingdom. "I get to travel the world and
see you. I love you and I love everything you do."
Welsh's commitment to his team was a unifying thread throughout his
visit, which brought him face to face with nearly 150 service members
from the 501st Combat Support Wing.
"I've known you for about an hour now, but I'd die for you," Welsh said
pointing to an Airman in the crowd during his all call. "And I'm just
naïve enough to believe you'd do the same for me. That's why we wear
The Air Force is different than other jobs, he continued. It requires
people to devote not only their time, but potentially their lives to
Welsh impressed this concept upon the members of the 501st CSW who were
present during his round-table discussions and all calls.
First Lt. Sara Esau, 422nd Air Base Group executive officer, internalized Welsh's commitment to the Air Force people.
"Caring for your people is so important," she said. "If a four-star
general can take the time out of his schedule to get to know and
genuinely care about his people, there's no reason we can't at a
Welsh's devotion to never disappointing his team led him to emphasize
his "Three C's:" common sense, communicate better and care more. He
encouraged Airmen to use their common sense to step up, step in and
forge new and innovative paths toward making the Air Force even
He also said communication is essential and Airmen at all levels must do a better job of engaging with one another.
"Our Airmen are on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram these days," Welsh
said. "We need to find better ways to leverage these platforms so our
messages are received and understood."
His final tip was to care more. Welsh said if someone's best friend were
to walk into his office and not say anything, he would know there was
something wrong. He questioned why the same expectation does not exist
when it comes to supervisors and their teams. Welsh encouraged all
Airmen to fiercely care for one another, like brothers and sisters of a
large and diverse family.
He said it is the people who unite us together and make doing the
impossible a daily reality. Welsh challenged every Airman in the room to
examine not only what they do, how they do, but most importantly why
they do it.
With a look of dedication and seriousness in his eyes, Welsh looked at
the crowd and passionately explained why he wears the uniform.
"I don't just like being in the Air Force ... I love being in the Air Force," he said.