Air Force chief of staff honors retirees, praises Airmen|
by David W. Roberts
Defense Media Activity
10/25/2010 - SAN ANTONIO (AFNS) -- The Air Force's top uniformed officer honored retirees and praised today's Airmen during a dinner here Oct. 22.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz was the guest speaker at the annual chairman's dinner at Air Force Village, an officers' retirement community here, in celebration of its 40th anniversary.
The general articulated the relationship between Air Force Village, the legacy of the greater retiree community, and the dedication of Airmen serving across the world.
"Abiding through the passage of time is the close association between the Air Force, and Air Force Village, and the greater community of retirees," General Schwartz said. "This bond transcends the retiree community's appreciation for the valiant efforts of the servicemembers who currently serve, or the respect and admiration that active-duty members have for those who came before.
"Indeed, this bond unites us, in common interest, with the shared imperative of strengthening support for military members and their family members -- past, present and future," the general said.
General Schwartz said Airmen today face a number of obstacles that affect the entire Air Force community, and retired servicemembers continue to make sacrifices to help the Air Force meet the demands of the current mission.
"Many of the challenges that active members face -- for example, the increasing roles and responsibilities in the midst of declining purchasing power, or longer and more frequent deployments -- have a rippling effect on the retiree community," General Schwartz said.
This confluence of increased demands and fiscal austerity means that Airmen must find ways to offset increasing costs that challenge the service across the board, the general said.
"It is no surprise that retired members of our Air Force family perceived this need, and stepped in with characteristic selflessness to fulfill it as well," General Schwartz said.
The general thanked retirees for their dedication, and reminded them that they continue to play a vital role in today's force.
"Retirees have volunteered hundreds of thousands of hours serving communities and bases worldwide, saving millions of dollars to be sure," General Schwartz said. "And I never tire of reminding our wing commanders that retired Airmen are still serving, and still exemplify service before self, in many extraordinary ways."
General Schwartz also called on Airmen currently serving in uniform to remember the sacrifices made by those who preceded them in service.
"We owe retirees our gratitude," General Schwartz said. "This is one reason why I enthusiastically back the efforts of the Air Force Retiree Council, which meets annually at the Air Force Personnel Center."
General Schwartz said he attended the 37th annual meeting of the council in May, and had the privilege of discussing key retiree issues and witnessing firsthand the pride, the sincerity and the dedication of its 19 members, as they represented the interests of nearly 790,000 retirees and their surviving spouses.
The general applauded today's Airmen for their dedication to the retiree community.
"Despite the nation's economic turmoil, today's Airmen are generous in supporting the Air Force family," he said. "It is a true testament of our Airmen's commitment to you."
General Schwartz also commended those currently serving for continuing to carry out the commitments and traditions handed down by their predecessors.
"Today's Airmen perform capably, admirably, and with the utmost of commitment, just like you did," the general said. "I'm always honored to stand by, with and for these young men and women, and tonight is no different.
"These Airmen are your legacy -- the results of your leadership, your loyalty, and your innovation over years of honorable service," General Schwartz continued. "And when today's Air Force is hailed for its merit, you -- the retirees, spouses and extended family members -- share in that praise, because of the foundation of success that you helped to establish."
The general closed by reminding all Airmen, both currently serving and retired, of their common bond, and he made a commitment to continue to honor the legacy of all who have served.
"We all share a unique perspective of faithful service to our country, and to those who have served before us," General Schwartz said. "Those currently serving are grateful for your continued support and, most importantly, your example. All those currently serving will do our best to continue to make you proud of the Air Force that you remember so well."