CENTAF leaders visit Airmen deployed to Mehtar Lam

  • Published
  • By Capt. Travis Tougaw
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The U.S. Central Command Air Forces commander visited Airmen serving in Afghanistan March 7-10, making stops here, at the Mehtar Lam Provincial Reconstruction Team and Kandahar Airfield.

Speaking to Airmen at Mehtar Lam, Lt. Gen. Gary North praised the work the PRTs are doing to improve the lives of Afghans.

Mehtar Lam is one of six PRTs in Afghanistan that the Air Force commands. There is no Air Force Specialty Code dedicated to PRTs, so the Airmen working in them are often called upon to complete work not traditionally associated with the Air Force. General North said this will benefit the service in the long run, so long as the job gets done safely.

"When you go back to your Air Force jobs, you're going to be a much better Airman force for what you've done here--because you've been able to do it in a joint environment," he said.

General North said the PRT embodies the military's vision for work with sister services and coalition partners. "There's not a better example of the joint environment than the PRT," he said. "You're working alongside all the services and with the people of the host nation, with the local police, army, community members, and our DOD contractors and Afghan contractors."

General North recognized that working in a joint environment poses its challenges and said the Air Force is working to better prepare Airmen for those challenges. He told the Airmen that to improve training for those who follow in their footsteps, the Air Force has stood up a new structure inside Air Education and Training Command's 2nd Air Force. This Numbered Air Force is committed to ensuring the quality of training for all Airmen filling In Lieu Of and Request For Forces positions.

The general also talked about current Air Force issues, including the wear of the new Airman Battle Uniform and the personnel draw down. He said the new uniform is comfortable and easy to care for, "and we've worked hard to get it here in theater; I expect we will all wear it proudly," the general said.

U.S. Central Command Air Forces Command Chief Master Sergeant Richard Small accompanied the general during the trip. He echoed the general's thoughts about the accomplishments of the Airmen at Mehtar Lam.

"When you think back about your time here in this PRT on this rolling hill surrounded by these mountains, you'll recognize that you truly were a part of fighting and winning the war on terror," he said. "What you're doing is making a difference. People back home, your family, your friends, and your communities respect what you're doing here."

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