News>Welsh 'humbled' to serve as Air Force chief of staff
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley passes the chief of staff flag to Gen. Mark A. Welsh III during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Prior to his new position, Welsh was the commander of U. S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/ Michael J. Pausic)
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz embraces Gen. Mark A. Welsh III during the chief of staff transition ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four years as the Air Force’s senior uniformed leader. Prior to becoming the Air Force chief of staff, Welsh commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
Gen. Norton Schwartz relinquishes the chief of staff flag to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four as the Air Force's senior uniformed leader. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks to the audience during the chief of staff transition ceremony honoring Gen. Norton Schwartz and Gen. Mark A. Welsh III at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four years as the Air Force's senior uniformed leader. Prior to becoming the Air Force chief of staff, Welsh commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley swears in Gen. Mark A. Welsh III as the 20th Air Force chief of staff, assisted by Welsh's wife, Betty, during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)
Flights from the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard pass in review for Gen. Norton Schwartz and new Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four years as the Air Force’s senior uniformed leader. Prior to becoming the Air Force chief of staff, Welsh commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina Brownlow)
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses the audience after being sworn in as the 20th Air Force chief of staff during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Prior to his new position, Welsh was the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina Brownlow)
The U.S. Air Force Honor Guard pass in review for Gen. Norton Schwartz and new Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four years as the Air Force’s senior uniformed leader. Prior to becoming the Air Force chief of staff, Welsh commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
(Right to left) Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, current Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Roy arrive during the Air Force Chief of Staff Retirement and Appointment ceremonies at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four years as the Air Force’s senior uniformed leader. Prior to becoming the Air Force chief of staff, Welsh commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley passes the chief of staff flag to Gen. Mark A. Welsh III during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Prior to his new position, Welsh was the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo)
Gen. Norton Schwartz addresses the audience during the Air Force chief of staff transition ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served in the Air Force for 39 years, the last four years as the Air Force's senior uniformed leader. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael J. Pausic)
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta awards Suzie Schwartz, wife of former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, with the Distinguished Public Service Award on the occasion of Schwartz's retirement during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served as Air Force chief of staff for four years and was succeeded by Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. Welsh previously commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael J. Pausic)
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta congratulates Gen. Norton Schwartz on the occasion of his retirement during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Schwartz served as Air Force chief of staff for four years and was succeeded by Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. Welsh previously commanded U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Michael J. Pausic)
by Tech. Sgt. Shawn J. Jones
Air Force Public Affairs Agency
8/10/2012 - JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (AFNS) -- The Air Force chief of staff flag passed to the service's 20th chief in a ceremony here Aug. 10.
Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, a 36-year Airman, stepped into the position, taking over for Gen. Norton Schwartz, who also retired from the Air Force during the ceremony.
"Mark is respected throughout the Air Force for his exceptional leadership and ability to connect with Airmen," Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley said.
Raised in an Air Force family, Welsh said he found a role model in his father, a decorated combat pilot.
"Today, I think he'd be proud of me," Welsh said. "And any day a kid can make his dad proud is a great day."
Welsh emphasized the need for Airmen to understand the importance of the other services in joint operations, but also said Airmen shouldn't underestimate the combat capabilities of their own service in winning today's fight.
"No one else can bring what we bring to the fight, and any real warfighter knows that," he said. "Don't ever doubt yourself or this service.
Welsh also addressed his stance on issues affecting the well-being of Airmen.
"When it comes to Airman resiliency, suicide prevention, and sexual assault prevention and response, I believe you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem," he said. "There is no middle ground."
Welsh also said the Air Force must shape the future and that will require innovative thinking and different approaches to problems, along with modernization.
Welsh was nominated by the president May 10 and confirmed by the Senate on Aug. 2.
In his previous position as the commander of U. S. Air Forces in Europe, he was in charge of Air Force activities in an area of operations covering nearly one-fifth of the globe.
Welsh, a 1976 graduate of the Air Force Academy, has served in numerous operational, command and staff positions, such as commandant of cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy, vice commander of Air Education and Training Command and associate director for military affairs at the Central Intelligence Agency.
"When I became a squadron commander, I felt excited. When I became a wing commander, I felt proud. When I became a major command commander, I felt privileged and a little bit old," he said. "Today when I was sworn in as chief of staff of the Air Force, I felt humbled to be given the honor of leading its incredible Airmen."
His experience includes nearly 3,300 flying hours, most of which came in the A-10 Thunderbolt II and F-16 Fighting Falcon.
As the ceremony ushered in a new chapter in Air Force history, it also served as the final chapter for Schwartz's four years as the service's senior uniformed leader and his more than 39 years of military service.
Schwartz's career began in1973 after graduating from the Air Force Academy. He has logged more than 4,400 flying hours and participated in military operations in Vietnam, Iraq and Cambodia.
"Anyone looking for an example of Air Force core values need look no further than Gen. Norty Schwartz," Donley said. "Thank you for your lasting contribution to our Air Force and the character and quality of your service."
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta presented Schwartz with the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, which is awarded to service members who perform exceptionally meritorious service in a position of great responsibility.
The award citation highlighted his success in restoring excellence in the Air Force nuclear mission, his efforts to partner with joint and coalition teammates in support of operations worldwide, modernizing the Air Force's air and space inventories, and care for Airmen and families. Schwartz's wife Suzie was also recognized for her devotion to Airmen and family support programs.
"The Air Force has afforded us an honorable and rewarding journey for the entirety of our adult lives," Schwartz said.
8/23/2012 7:02:55 PM ET General Welsh congrats and good luck in your new position. I've heard nothing but good things from people that have met you personally. Do us all a favor though put that uniform in your closet and leave it there. I get that the band might have a different uniform but your are my chief. If the service uniform is good enough for all of us it should be good enough for you. Somebody suggested it was because the other services have a cermonial uniform for their chiefs. Let's be different.
8/23/2012 11:18:11 AM ET Considering what I've heard about General Welsh from those who have worked with him we're fortunate to have him as our CSAF. Regarding the service dress uniform I think it's really this simple embrace our heritage get the uniform right so it never needs to be changed and wear it with pride.
Capt Tipton, SWA
8/19/2012 11:17:00 PM ET Congratulations to Gen. Welsh I was hoping he would get the position and I'm sure that the USAF is in good handsBut to set things clear for those who are bickering about the uniforms...1. The uniforms that Gen. Welsh Gen. Schwartz and CMSAF Roy are wearing are ceremonial uniforms authorized only for the USAF band and top USAF leaders. They are to be worn in the most important occasions where wearing the normal dress blues uniform is not appropriate. They do not wear the Honor Guard uniform simply because they are not in the Honor Guard2.I guarantee you all that the USAF Band uniform will NOT be a new service dress blues uniform...The Marine Corps always has that kind of uniform for its dress blues so people will just accuse the USAF for copying them if we do. It's too formal to be worn regularly.3. Although I really like the Mitchell type service coat there are greater issues that need to be addressed and I think it was a smart idea to put the service dress coa
8/16/2012 2:45:06 PM ET I had the privilege to work for Gen Welsh while he commanded USAFE and I'm excited to continue to serve with our new CSAF. He's personable friendly and a fantastic leader. Congrats Boss
8/16/2012 9:01:14 AM ET TSgt Williams, I find it ironic that you are complaining that many comments focused on the uniform and not welcoming the new boss or thanking our former boss for his service but I see that you did neither in your post. For everyone else that is so outraged by people's comments on the uniforms, simply move on to the next comment. Let people have their say.
8/15/2012 5:10:25 AM ET Congrats to the new CSAF; however, since the majority of us are intrigued by the wear of the supposed uniform ,I think that it is a must that it be addressed. I for one would welcome the new look. The uniform looks sharp and presents a great military image unlike our present business suit that looks tacky in so many ways. Hope the uniform board reads these comments at least to get the ball rolling again to a new and better image. Especially since the vast majority of our troops despise our current service dress. Can't stand it and please do something. And again congrats to the new CSAF and I'm looking forward to the great things we will accomplish under his command.
MSgt, Southwest Asia
8/14/2012 2:41:24 PM ET TSgt Jones your article hit the topic just fine and we all appreciate your coverage. I think the reason all these comments center around the uniforms is because uniforms have been a thorn in our side since 2003. The AF hasn't gotten a single uniform right since then and it's wearing on people. Many believe this to be a petty issue but if the AF can't give us a proper functional or useful uniform what else can't they get right I hope this comment fits what you hoped to see when I say I expect this CSAF to right the wrong of the ABU and to please use better descretion than past CSAF in future changes that affect the total force.
8/14/2012 1:56:57 PM ET I find it quite remarkable and ironic that the modern USAF leadership would be harking back to the uniform of Gen Billy Mitchell's days when in fact he is the one person most remembered for having risked everthing in order to get the military of his day to look forward to the future of airpower. Perhaps there is a lesson here...that should not be ignored.
Chief Rich, Portage WI
8/14/2012 1:10:30 PM ET General Welsh congratulations on your selection as CSAF. General Schwartz Thank You for your leadership.
Michael Osborn, Randolph AFB Texas
8/14/2012 11:32:22 AM ET There are some seriously petty people in this comment thread. Gen Welsh has the potential to be one of the best CSAF's ever. He's a non-nonsense reform-minded person who puts an incredible amount of time and effort to ensure that our airmen are taken care of. He has some great ideas regarding the officer promotion process the role of the CSS and commander's programs reducing bureaucratic overhead and a few other major programs. I hope he's able to implement them.All of you petty people including the silly 11F desk jockey are not helping him any.
A Random Capt, SoCal
8/14/2012 10:45:19 AM ET Glad to see General Welsh in charge finally he was a great leader when he was in charge of us at the Air Force Academy. I really hope the first thing he does is get rid of General Schwartz's Blue's Monday policy. This has been one of the most inconvenient policies for us on the operational side.
j, Sheppard AFB
8/14/2012 10:43:01 AM ET Gentleman - Thank you for your service. General Welsh as part of the senior executive team it is never easy to make cost cutting decisions. Anyone that has worked in and out of a militarygovernment career will tell you that wasteful spending is rampant. Have your leaders review what it takes to accomplish the mission and training. Lets stop the mentally of waste it all this year or we wont get it next year.
Retired, Leading a Fortune 100
8/14/2012 10:08:55 AM ET Am I and the third commenter from the bottom the only ones who think uniform looks great much better than our current service dress I digress...I highly recommend watching the YouTube video of Gen Welsh's speach at the AF Academy last November. If it doesn't get you excited about our new CSAF I don't know what will. httpyoutu.behFBpxB5zgnY
Capt S., Lackland AFB
8/14/2012 9:58:48 AM ET From the writer Don't worry. Those uniforms won't be popping up at any military clothing sales stores. They are used infrequently by the CSAF and CMSAF for high-level ceremonies only.I agree the the uniform topic is important but I feel like it has distracted readers from the big picture we've got a new CSAF. I was expecting more comments about what Airmen expect from him.
S. Jones, Pentagon
8/14/2012 8:40:07 AM ET @ PJ at Andrews AFB....that new Army uniform is actually a glimpse back at the old Army service dress worn during the Civil War. In other words the Army apparently values heritage more than the AF and your arrogant perception. But I digress...congrats to Gen Welsh and thank you Gen Schwartz
8/13/2012 10:52:38 AM ET Looks like a cross between the USAF Honor Guard uniform, the AF Band and the old proposed Hap Arnold service dress from a few years ago. All this talk about heritage except it changes every year...
8/13/2012 9:33:42 AM ET First, it is insulting the AF leaders are wearing a different uniform than the people under their command as if they want to be separated from those they lead. Second, it is insulting they are wearing a new uniform without announcing there is a new uniform in works or otherwise. Lastly, it is insulting they are wearing that particular service dress since leadership decided a couple years ago to not pursue a new service especially that design due to budget constraints.
8/13/2012 8:44:44 AM ET Well here we go again. Has Chief Roy gone and relented to another goofy uniform modification the same as Chief Binnicker Where's the non-nonsense generals such as Gen Fogelman when you need them? How much of those invaluable funds that threaten to alter TRICARE billing for retirees are being wasted? Why is the uniform board permanently in session instead of on an as-needed basis? I'm sure the manpower could be better utilized on the flightlines.
Chief Rich, Portage WI
8/13/2012 7:30:35 AM ET Loving the comments on the uniforms they were all wearing. Agreed, pretty dumb looking. As far as the ceremony being in a hanger instead of outside, maybe the weather was bad? Dunno. But those uniforms are really stupid looking.
8/13/2012 5:10:20 AM ET Can we focus on what the article is actually about and less about the uniforms. I have been very lucky to hear General Welsh speak on several different occasions, and I'm very excited on what changes he may have in store. This is a man who understands the most important component of our service are the Airman who comprise it. General Welsh has done great things here in USAFE, can't wait to see what he does while he's in the Pentagon. Congrats, sir.
RS, Ramstein AB
8/12/2012 10:49:54 PM ET It's the usaf band uniform, but only the Chief of Staff and the CMSAF wear it for high ceremonial purposes.
8/12/2012 6:44:37 PM ET The title of this article is Welsh 'humbled' to serve as Air Force chief of staff and these are the comments that come from the Airmen he is about to lead. Whining about uniforms. Grow up, show some class, don't show your ignorance so bluntly. Make some relevant comments worthy of being claimed by men and you New Chief of Staff.
8/12/2012 6:38:52 PM ET It is me or is CMSAF Roy hat crooked?
Air Force rules, Texas
8/12/2012 1:01:14 PM ET Wow. What is wrong with all you people. Here we have a historic change of USAF leadership and all you can comment on is the uniform they wore. What's important is that once again a 11F is running the show as it should be. It should be a good 4 years.
8/12/2012 12:11:30 PM ET Congratulations to our new COS on a side note, but I cannot let the opportunity to express that I concur with the comments on the uniform I am terrified that this new uniform is the horizon. please don't make the same mistake the army did with their new service uniform it is horrible.
PJ, Andrews AFB
8/12/2012 9:40:38 AM ET I have never had the pleasure of working for a finer individual. I worked for Gen Welsh when he was a Col serving as the Wolf at Kunsan AB Korea and have seen him several times since and he has not changed. The AF is in good hands. One day he will be the President of the OUR United States
8/12/2012 9:33:58 AM ET In addition to the wonderful insight on the uniforms from the bloggers, I believe the change of command ceremony is worth mentioning. Good luck to General Welsh as he takes the reins of the Air Force during such turbulent times, and thank you to General Schwartz for leading during a tough economic and political environment.
8/12/2012 8:23:59 AM ET The ceremonial uniform is for the CSAF and CMSAF only. It came out because the chiefs of other services have a special uniform just for that position. Can't imagine it would spread to others.
8/11/2012 5:24:52 PM ET Crazy that the AF gets a new CSAF and the majority of comments are on the uniform... which is the ceremonial uniform worn by Senior Leaders for special events...
C, washington dc
8/11/2012 2:11:50 PM ET Those uniforms make me think we didn't get the brain bug on planet P.
8/11/2012 1:05:26 PM ET The uniforms spoke louder than the message - please say that uniform ain't so
Lt Col Aghast, Afghanistan
8/11/2012 9:56:33 AM ET Congrats to Gen. Welsh I'm sure he'll do the USAF proud. I haven't read any negative comments about him. I am curious though as to what's with the Billy Mitchell heritage uniforms The last I heard was Gen. Schwartz cutting the idea a few years ago. Is it a prototype that will be coming out in mass production soon or is it more of our leadership wearing what they feel like
8/11/2012 8:23:32 AM ET Really, Gen. Welsh takes over as the new Chief of Staff and all you are concerned about is the freakin uniform. Who cares what he is wearing. How about welcoming the general to his new post or thanking Gen. Schwartz for his service. Who cares. Before you start on how much money we wasted on R and D and all that, this is a ceremonial uniform. I do not know if it is a future uniform, but does it really matter. This article is not about the uniform, it is about the 20th CSAF! If you are an AD/ANG/AFR or Air Force civilian, welcome your boss, don't spend time trying to speculate on things.
TSgt Rich Williams, NCR
8/11/2012 3:55:37 AM ET I really hope we don't have those uniforms coming. They're horrible.
8/11/2012 12:41:26 AM ET Why don't we just start dressing like Battlestar Galactica? I'm so sick of buying new uniforms. In a day of tight budgets and kicking people out our leaders are more worried about a uniform.
8/10/2012 11:25:01 PM ET That uniform would sure look silly with my beret and jump boots...
I got this bro, CONUS
8/10/2012 11:16:19 PM ET @ CONUS Scott AFB. I hope not since we can barely afford to do our mission and get our folks trained. We don't need to waste tax payers dollars or the little dollars we do have on new uniforms.
8/10/2012 10:25:56 PM ET It's a special uniform used only by senior leaders for ceremonial events.
Alex, Robins AFB
8/10/2012 10:05:42 PM ET Thanks to Gen Schwartz and congrats to Gen Welsh. The USAF has healed somewhat since 2008 but much more work and image repair left to do. Curious to see where the new CSAF leads the service. But why a hangar ceremony for the CSAF vs on the Bolling parade field? And OMG whats with those heinous ceremonial uniforms. It looks like a mashup of AF Band Honor Guard and Star Wars empire. Hopefully a one time deal not AF wide.
Billie Chelton, Falcon CO
8/10/2012 10:02:12 PM ET Like that service dress... very sharp. Lets get that approved and issued and get rid of the business suit we call a Service Coat.
Canine Handler, Lackland AFB
8/10/2012 7:25:27 PM ET New Service Dress coming or is this just a Flag Officer thing?
8/10/2012 6:52:49 PM ET What type of uniform is Gen Welsh and CMSAF Roy wearing? Is there a another new uniform on the horizon