Air Force leaders make Thanksgiving Day visit to Airmen in Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Larry E. Reid Jr.
  • NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan Public Affairs
The Air Force's top officer and enlisted member paid a Thanksgiving visit to Airmen who are deployed to the NATO Training Mission - Afghanistan and Combined Air Power Transition Force here.

During an Airmen's call, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy spoke about the Air Force's role in the current conflict in Afghanistan and thanked the Airmen and their families back home for their unwavering sacrifices.

The visit was special for the two Air Force leaders as they were able to spend some of their time meeting and speaking to the Airmen who are deployed alongside sister services and coalition forces to train, equip and mentor Afghan forces to secure their country against terrorism.

"Sincerely, it's a wonderful thing to have all of you here this morning, particularly on Thanksgiving Day," General Schwartz said. "For me and Chief Roy, this is a moment of be with you, to be with the folks who are on the front line doing the nation's business as well as you are.

"The key message from the United States leadership is that what is happening here is important," the general said, "for the security of our country and for the security of friends and allies here in this region. What we are doing is training the Afghans to be able to help secure their own space."

The general also emphasized the importance of each and every Airman's contribution to the coalition fight, and how joint-force cohesion can mean overall success in Afghanistan.

"All of you play your position well and on the front line you represent your Air Force so well," the general said. "You are credible with your joint teammates, which is important because we are doing this together. I just want to emphasize the fact that what you're doing is worth your separation from your families. What you're doing is worth the sacrifices you will make as individuals."

During the Airmen's call, Chief Roy briefly touched on the Year of the Air Force Family by talking about program improvements to better serve Airmen and their family members who are back home.

"What we are trying to do is bring the sense of community back to our bases" said Chief Roy. "The sense of community at many of our stateside bases has diminished, so we are trying to bring that back and make sure that the programs available on our installations are useful to the members. We are not looking at having new programs, but to make sure the programs that we have are suited for members who are utilizing them."

Airmen who were present during the Airmen's call were reminded to make morale calls back home during the Thanksgiving holiday and to reassure their loved ones that they are safe.

"I hope you will take the opportunity to make contact at home," the general said.

The general noted the importance of working hard today and every day and to make every day count towards helping the Afghans reach self-sustainability.

"As we go forward for the next couple of years, we need to make the best of each and every day," he said. "We need to work as hard as we can to make the Afghan Army Air Corps credible and capable so that they can move the Afghan National Army and police to where they can secure their own space and protect them while they're out doing their nation's business.

"America needs good people to do this stuff," General Schwartz said.  "We need all of you, we are grateful that you are here doing this work.  Chief Roy and I and the leadership of your Air Force are all in, in making sure that what you are doing here and will do, will be valued for years to come."