Air Combat Command leader visits Davis-Monthan Airmen
By Capt. Stacie N. Shafran, 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 05, 2010
DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS) -- The commander of Air Combat Command visited Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Feb. 23 and 24 to learn more about the base mission and thank the Airmen, civilians and family members for their service.
With Davis-Monthan AFB's Airmen continuously deployed around the world, to include supporting relief efforts in Haiti, Gen. William M. Fraser III commended the Airmen for what they are doing to fight today's fight.
With the 354th Fighter Squadron member's recent return from a six-month deployment to southern Afghanistan, General Fraser said the 355th Fighter Wing's mission here is critical to the success of overseas contingency operations.
"It was obvious what was accomplished during this last deployment," General Fraser said. The troops on the ground really rely upon close-air support and that's an integral part of what the A-10 (Thunderbolt IIs) and the 355th Fighter Wing bring to the fight."
The A-10 squadron was the first Air Force fighter unit based in southern Afghanistan, a move that saved the lives of countless ground forces because of the faster reaction time provided by Air Force officials. Squadron members flew more than 10,000 flight hours and 2,500 sorties during their deployment.
Members of the 355th are also responsible for preparing pilots to become A-10 pilots, a mission the general lauded.
"One of the things I was amazed to see was the 355th Fighter Wing's balance of the formal training unit and operation," General Fraser said. "They've got a huge undertaking in training up new members in the A-10 mission. It's a big task for our entire Air Force because no sooner are they graduating from the formal training unit, achieving mission ready status and then deploying forward to the fight. The close-air support they provide is something that's really valued by those on the ground."
While the general toured the base and spoke with Airmen, his wife, Bev, also visited several facilities, including the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Sonoran Science Academy, which was the first charter school to open on an Air Force base.
General Fraser said that being in command is a team effort with his wife and they share what they learned with each other during each base they visit, especially when it relates to Air Force families.
"We're making sure that we're doing everything we can for our family members, especially in this Year of the Air Force Family," General Fraser said. "I received some tremendous feedback from my wife. She was very impressed with many of the activities. We learn something at each location, and we want to ensure the best practices we saw at (Davis-Monthan AFB) are propagated across ACC."
The general also had an opportunity to tour Davis-Monthan AFB's energy-efficient privatized base housing. Once construction is complete on ground and rooftop solar array panels, Davis-Monthan AFB will be home to the largest solar-powered community in the continental United States.
"The Air Force is doing everything we can to be energy efficient," General Fraser said. "I was impressed with the tremendous energy initiatives taking place in the housing area here at (Davis-Monthan AFB). It's something I'd like to see if we can expand it to other bases."
He had dinner at the University of Arizona in Tucson with members of the DM-50, a group of local business and civic leaders who support base initiatives, to learn more about their thoughts and concerns.
"It's important that we also acknowledge the tremendous community support that exists here," the general said.
Even with the support of the off-base community and that of senior Air Force leaders, General Fraser emphasized at his commander's call Feb. 23 at the base theater that Airmen must continue to look out for each other and take care of the Air Force family.
"We must truly live the wingman concept," he said. "Each and every one of you is why our Air Force is the greatest in the world. We cannot do this without every one of you as a member of our ACC team."