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SecAF visits JB Langley Eustis, discusses readiness, retention

Photo of Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson shaking hands with commander of Air Combat Command Gen. Mike Holmes' wife Sara during her visit to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, introduces his wife Sara to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, during Wilson's visit to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Aug. 3, 2017. Wilson met with ACC and JBLE senior leaders and spoke with Airmen on the unique capabilities JBLE has to offer to the Air Force’s mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin O. Leslie)

Photo of Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson meeting with 1st Fighter Wing pilots during her visit to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson meets with 1st Fighter Wing pilots during her visit to Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., Aug. 3, 2017. The 1st FW is the Air Force's largest operational F-22 unit. Wilson spoke directly to pilots to get a better sense of why retention has become a major issue. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Carlin O. Leslie)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va . (AFNS) -- Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson visited Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Aug. 3, 2017, where she met with Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, and visited the 1st Fighter Wing and 480th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Wing.

"We must restore the readiness of the force," said Wilson. "The men and women at Langley Air Force Base are critical to maintaining and improving our lethality in the air."

During her trip, Wilson met with three groups of pilots to learn more about retention, one of the keys to readiness.

Wilson said readiness starts with Airmen.

"We need to be able to win any fight, any time," she said. "Readiness isn't about our ability to go to war, but how many Airmen will come home because we have prepared them to win."

Langley AFB is home to the Air Force's largest operational F-22 unit, the 1st FW. During her visit, Wilson spoke directly to pilots to get a better sense of why retention has become a major issue.

"I want to know what we can do better to revitalize squadrons as the core fighting unit in our Air Force," she said.

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