Military News

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Wingman forged in blood, sweat, tears: New AFGSC commander builds foundation

by Airman 1st Class Curt Beach
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs

9/3/2015 - BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La.  -- Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command, and his wife, Kim, visited Barksdale Air Force Base, Aug. 27-28, to engage with the Airmen who make the 2nd Bomb Wing mission possible.

Hundreds of Airmen across the wing had the opportunity to interact with the command's new leadership team and discuss the mission of providing unparalleled B-52 combat capability and expeditionary combat Airmen.

"I'm going to be the best commander I can for you by providing advice when it's warranted, giving you advocacy, and giving you top cover," Rand said. "I'm not going to get in your way. I'm not going to slow you down. I'm going to always try to represent you with class and dignity -- you deserve that."

Throughout his two-day immersion, the general re-enforced the importance of the global strike mission during briefings with squadron commanders, officers and enlisted Airmen.

"I want to tell you how important your mission is to our Air Force," he said. "What you do at Barksdale is unique to the United States Air Force. No one else in the Air Force can do what Barksdale and Minot do. No one. You need to be aware and you need to understand just how critical you are.

"There are people in this world who don't care about anything else besides staying in power. They don't care about their people. They don't care about their nation. They don't care about anything...but power. And there's only a couple platforms that can keep people like that in check...and one of those is a B-52."

The Air Force leader with 36 years of service explained how Barksdale bombers were recently called upon to do what they do best -- deter and assure -- when a tyrant was attempting to impose his will.

"That B-52 is a beast, isn't it?" he asked a crowd that responded with cheers.

After speaking about the mission, Rand talked about his other two priorities: Airmen and families.

"You are important, and without you we can't get the job done," he said. "My world, our world and the world my grandchildren grow up in is safer because of you. So, DO NOT take for granted what you do and how important it is."

"You are the fuel that propels the engine. This is not a job -- this is a calling. This is not a job -- this is a profession, the profession of arms. I want to thank you for your service, but I want to thank your families for their sacrifice. We recruit Airmen. We retain families."

He also discussed core values and our Air Force's rich heritage.  He  talked about the Airman's Creed, noting that Airmen fresh from basic training have memorized it, but haven't yet experienced its meaning. He charged the NCOs and senior NCOS with making sure our young Airmen understand what the words in the creed mean.

"You are warriors.  Many of you have deployed; some of you have ducked for cover, been shot at and have returned fire; and held the hand of a wounded or dying sailor, soldier, Airman or Marine.  You know that war is tough and ugly. Have you passed that on to your Airmen? You also know what our heritage is and what a proud legacy we come from. You know that some things are worth dying for...and you know what it means to be a good wingman."

The general spoke highly of the term 'wingman' -- a term that should not be taken lightly, a term that represents those who went before us, those who have shed blood, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"Wingman," he said, is a term "forged in blood, sweat and tears.

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