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Welsh meets with Wyoming's Total Force Airmen

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and his wife, Betty, visited with Airmen of 153rd Airlift Wing at the Wyoming Air National Guard Base here July 19.

During an Airman's call, Welsh applauded the 153rd Airlift Wing's role in hosting the Air National Guard's first active-duty associate unit, the 30th Airlift Squadron, as well as their contributions to ongoing firefighting efforts.

"Thank you for the pride you take in doing the job right, thanks for how well you do it and for all that it means to the entire United States military," Welsh said. "Everywhere I go in the Air Force I meet people that have spent their entire career in a lifestyle that is difficult, supporting operations that are difficult, in places that are difficult to operate in. They've been doing it smiling and they've been doing it exceptionally well."

Welsh also addressed furloughs for full-time technicians, one of many important topics affecting Airmen.

"It affects a lot of people who are essential to every mission we do in the Air Force, in some cases they are the mission," Welsh said. "Their reward for that is losing 20 percent of their pay for the rest of the fiscal year. This is horrible, there's nothing good about it."

Welsh explained the difficult process of deciding what areas of the defense budget are vital to primary mission success and what areas could experience cuts. In light of furloughs and sequestering, Welsh praised Airmen for continuing to push forward and continuing to provide airpower for the nation.

"We do things all over the world. The issue that never comes up is 'Can we get them there?'" said Welsh, regarding conversations he has with other services about the Air Force. "Nobody ever thinks about that, but they expect it and it occurs because of you. You're really good at what you do and you take pride in getting it right. Thank you for that."

Welsh also added that efforts to prevent furloughs in the future are ongoing.

"We're going to keep working really hard to make sure we never have to face this again," Welsh said.

Welsh also welcomed questions directly from Airmen with topics ranging from sexual assault prevention and prosecution to professional military education and promotions.

The chief of staff concluded the open forum by encouraging Airmen to keep asking questions, continuing to seek new ways to improve their career and workplace in addition to maintaining their dedication to making the Air Force better every day.

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