By Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
50th Space Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III visited Schriever Air Force Base Friday to thank the team as well as provide some insights on current Air Force issues.
As part of a two-day visit to Colorado, Welsh and his wife, Betty, met with Schriever Airmen and their families at a key spouse meeting, hosted an Airman’s call and had lunch with Airmen from across the wing.
“I am here to say thanks for who you are, for what you do, for how well you do it, for enabling the entire rest of our Air Force to do its job all [around] the world and enabling the entire joint team to get the job done all [around] the world,” Welsh said.
Additionally, he highlighted the importance of Team Schriever to the Air Force and the joint mission.
“There is not a single weapon that gets dropped anywhere on the planet precisely without you. There is no secure [communication] on the Osama Bin Laden raid without you,” Welsh remarked. “There is no ability to move people, equipment, keep things on time, without you. There is no ability to do nuclear command and control, communication, anything without you. In every mission we do in the Air Force, and there are five core ones that we do where the rest of the Air Force is involved, you enable every one of them.”
Team Schriever performs its mission well and people understand how critical it is to everything the Air Force does, he said. There is no success the military has had that doesn’t integrally involve Team Schriever.
The Chief reminded the team that each member is critically important to what the Air Force does whether “you are a commander, supervisor, civilian Airman, uniformed Airman, a spouse or a key spouse.”
“This team doesn’t operate well without everybody operating well; it just doesn’t work that way,” he said. “You’ve got to know each other and care about each other.”
Welsh, who was born into the Air Force family as the son of a veteran pilot, talked about his love and pride for the service.
“One thing [my father] taught me was people plus pride equals performance,” he said. “Our Air Force recruits the best people possible. We’ve always educated them and trained them better than anybody else does. And we’ve always tried to keep them proud because they come in that way.”
The Air Force needs to remind itself that performance is “our only bottom line,” the general said.
“If you don’t treat your people well, you’ll never get that performance and that pride that produces the incredible capabilities that we have in our Air Force,” he said
And one of the issues that puts that at risk is civilian furloughs. Currently, civilian Airmen are furloughed one day per week from the pay period that began July 8 until Sept. 21.
“To the civilians in the audience, I just want to say I am sorry,” Welsh said. “The [Secretary of the Air Force] and I are doing everything we can to ensure that this does not happen next year. We’ve got to figure out a way to avoid this. This is a breach of faith with you and I apologize.”
Welsh also issued his keys to success — common sense, communication and caring.
“If you are doing something that wastes your time, if you are doing something that doesn’t make your people better, take better care of them and their families or improve the mission, then quit doing it,” he said.
Additionally, he reiterated the importance of better communication. He said the Air Force needs ideas on how to get the information better and faster to its Airmen.
“Communication is key to us to move forward,” the Chief said. “You need to know what’s happening.”
Moreover, the Chief talked about how every Airman has a story and encouraged everyone to learn about each other.
“The stories are magnificent, some are sad, some are inspirational, some are uplifting, but everybody has one,” Welsh said. “Please learn the stories. The simple fact is, if you don’t know the story, you can’t lead the Airman as well as you could otherwise.”
He added that by knowing each other better, the easier it is for everyone to take care of each other. This will help combat problems such as a lack of respect for each other in the workplace as demonstrated by sexual assaults, he said.
“We’ll have to work at those things,” Welsh said. “The Air Force is a phenomenally good news story and these things are not. To be the Air Force we want to be, to build the workplace you want to work in, that’s what we’ve got to do. I need your help.”
Welsh emphasized that although everyone is not part of the problem, everybody has to be part of the solution.
“We talk to all of our people about standing side by side with each other, how we’re going to go to war together, we’ll fight with each other, we’ll die with each other; but if we really feel that way, if you have the worst thing that’s ever happened in your life happen to you, why wouldn’t you come and trust me enough to let me help?” Welsh said. “It’s not your fault. It’s my fault. If we can figure that out, we’ll get ahead of this, but it’s going to take everybody’s effort.”
Concluding the Airman’s call, Welsh said he loves being in the service, everything about it and everybody in it.
“I really love the fact that I would die for you if I have to,” he said. “I really like the fact that you will do the same for me if it’s necessary. That is what this business is about, that’s why we have to take care of each other, that’s why we have to be able to trust each other and that’s why it’s important you wear your uniform. Thanks for choosing to serve, thanks for who you are, thanks for making me proud every single day.”
(Staff Sgt. Robert Cloys contributed in the story)