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CSAF celebrates Whiteman total force excellence

WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III visited here Feb. 16-18 to engage with civic leaders and meet Airmen of the world's only B-2 Spirit stealth bomber base.

While at Whiteman Air Force Base, Welsh met with leadership from the 509th Bomb Wing, the 131st Bomb Wing, the 442d Fighter Wing, and other tenant units to discuss the evolution of total force integration and to see firsthand the TFI model the base has established.

Welsh communicated his support of the TFI mission with total force leaders during roundtable meetings and spoke about the modernization of TFI and B-2 bomber missions.

During his visit, Welsh held an all call and stressed his three C's -- common sense, communication and caring -- to Airmen from the three total force wings at Whiteman AFB, and expressed how they can integrate these concepts into their unique missions.

"Apply common sense to all we do. If it doesn't seem right, make the change and use the chain," Welsh said. "We have four generations in the Air Force; we must use accountable communication to work as a professional organization. And lastly, know your Airmen better. Every Airman has a story. Care enough to know it."

Welsh also expressed his gratitude and support to the total force Airmen in attendance and reminded them that the Air Force is rich in pride.

"Never forget how critically important you are to what we are doing," Welsh added. "We have great people with great training and education and pride -- we, the Air Force, are built on pride, and it shows in your performance. That's where we come from."

Brig. Gen. Paul W. Tibbets IV, the 509th Bomb Wing commander, thanked Welsh for the visit and his leadership and echoed his sentiments.

"Our wing's heritage inspires us to take pride in the work we accomplish," Tibbets said. "We have a legacy of excellence. Through your efforts, we will continue that tradition for many years to come. Our pride will help us remain focused and allow us to face resource-constrained environments and ever evolving adversaries as we continue our strategic deterrence, global strike and combat support mission."

Welsh wrapped up the all call with a question and answer session and reminded Airmen why he loves the Air Force and why he's served for so long.

"I will die for you," Welsh said. "We have only met for about an hour, and I'd die for you. I believe you'd do the same for me. That is what's so special about the Air Force."