by Gen. Frank Gorenc
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander
9/15/2015 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- This
year marks the Air Force's 68th birthday, and I wanted to send
greetings and a hearty thank you for all of your tremendous successes
over the past year...it's been an incredibly busy time! One of the
strongest attributes of our command is that we support everybody. Our
team delivered precise combat power for EUCOM, AFRICOM, and CENTCOM
while simultaneously enabling STRATCOM, TRANSCOM, and SOCOM missions.
We completed our European Infrastructure Consolidation review and
executed European Reassurance Initiatives. We also supported
Headquarters Air Force programs including improvements to quality of
life, feedback, performance reports, and myriad force support efforts.
The important part is that we accomplished all of this TOGETHER!
Of course, a birthday celebrates not just past-year accomplishments but
lifetime achievements as well. What an impressive 68 years it has been
as we celebrate the "World's Greatest Air Force!" A force capable of
global vigilance, global reach and global power with the outright
ability to assure, deter, or defeat any adversary.
From our beginnings 68 years ago, we always counted on innovation to
help us meet our aspirations. Innovation is in our DNA and is necessary
due to the many changes in the geopolitical, domestic, and fiscal
As an Air Force, we transitioned from World War II to the Cold War and
then to the Global War on Terror. During the Cold War we developed and
operated two legs of the Nuclear Triad, ICBMs and bombers, supporting
the policies of Containment and Deterrence. Inside the Cold War, we
fought proxy wars; Korea, Vietnam, and Central America. After the Cold
War, following Desert Shield and Desert Storm, we flew continuously in
the Southern and Northern No Fly Zones in Iraq. In the on-going global
war on terror, we find ourselves operating in all parts of the world.
Throughout this ever-changing landscape, Air Force Airmen count on
innovation to ensure success. Airmen use existing and emerging
technology to better Find, Fix, Track, Target, Engage, and Assess the
enemy. Our aircraft went from slow to fast to faster. Our bombsights,
guidance, and navigation systems made dumb weapons "Smart" thereby
increasing our accuracy. Stealth and electronic warfare made our
aircraft invisible. Unmanned aircraft turned persistent ISR and organic
strike into a warfighting commodity. Communications went from Line of
Sight to Beyond Line of Sight. Technology turned night into day and
made bad weather irrelevant allowing any time, all weather operations
possible. Air Force Airmen's creativity turned old into new, putting
Advanced Targeting Pods on "Strategic" bombers to conduct Close Air
Support with help from Joint Terminal Air Controllers using satellite
communications while riding horses!
Just as important as technological innovation, Airmen developed the
Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (TTPs) necessary to exploit the
advantage. Numerous training revolutions added events and resources to
our quiver that are now part of our everyday training; Air Force Weapons
School, Red Flag, Green Flag, Aggressors, Dissimilar Air Combat
Training, and better Air-Land integration to name just a few. The
success of our TTPs is due in no small part to our integration of the
Air, Space and Cyber domains as new technology becomes available.
Armed with new technology and cutting-edge TTPs, Airmen went on to
define and implement many organize, train, and equip innovations needed
to solidify our gains. From our beginnings in 1947, a conscripted
force became an all volunteer force; an in-garrison force turned into to
an Expeditionary Air Force; the Air Operations Center became a "Weapons
System" and a group- level unit; and we merged world-wide ISR with the
Digital Common Ground Station. Additionally, Air Force Special
Operations flourished and emerged as a powerhouse. Without doubt, there
are many more we could highlight.
This endless cycle of Airman-inspired innovation made the Air Force
successful in all endeavors. However, the famed physicist William G.
Pollard once said ... "The arrogance of success is to think that what
you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow."
So what is necessary for future Air Force success? We must have
innovation, commitment to mission, core values, and vision. A quiet
confidence validated by our tradition of honor and legacy of valor is
essential. Airmen answering their nation's call, who will not falter,
who will not fail, will be required. Pursuing relentlessly "World's
Greatest" status is obligatory because as Michelangelo pointed out many
years ago ..."The danger for most us is not that our aim is too high and
we miss it ... but that it is too low and we reach it ..."
No one knows what the future will bring and the track record of those
who say they do is miserable. But I do know this; the Air Force will be
called to deliver precise combat power from the air, space and
cyberspace. Our brand of power is indispensable to victory.
I ask all USAFE-AFAFRICA Airmen, on the occasion of our 68th birthday:
Will we be ready? The answer must be YES! Our past proves it but more
importantly our future demands it!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY and THANK YOU for your continuing service to our
country. I am extremely proud of you and proud to be your commander!