ACC commander praises role of Airmen
By Staff Sgt. Marcus McDonald, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
/ Published September 24, 2005
BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- Endurance will be the key to winning the war on terrorism, and the Air Combat Command commander told Airmen here their long-term commitment is paying off.
“This is a long-haul engagement we’re in, and we can’t falter now,” said Gen. Ronald E. Keys. “We’re making some real advances, but we can’t pack up and go home at this point.”
“There are a lot of people in the world that don’t like us just for the simple reason that we are who we are. We raised our hand and swore to defend our country; that’s what we’ll continue to do,” said General Keys, who also serves as the air component commander for U.S. Forces Command and U.S. Northern Command.
General Keys and ACC’s command chief, Chief Master Sgt. David Popp, met with deployed Airmen here Sept. 23 and 24 as part of their tour of installations throughout the U.S. Central Command area.
The general gave high praise for those serving their country as part of the ongoing war on terrorism.
“I’m very impressed with the Airmen deployed here,” the general said. “Everyone I spoke with had a smile on their face and was proud of the job they were doing to support this war.
“Although they’re far from home and are under a lot of pressure, they’re focused on the mission and are doing what it takes to make it happen,” General Keys said. “They truly epitomize our Air Force core values of integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do.”
The Air Force will continue to provide top-cover support to those who are deployed, the general said.
“Despite everything you read in the newspapers and see on TV, we know you’re deployed,” he said. “Our intent is to provide the best training, leadership, organization and equipment we can to support you, the folks in harm’s way.”
Chief Popp said he was impressed with the morale of Airmen deployed here.
“Although the conditions are very trying and it’s pretty remote here, people have the right spirit and are focused on the mission,” he said.
The chief remarked that the Sept. 18 Afghan elections could not have taken place if it were not for the work Airmen at Bagram were doing.
“Everyone deployed here could be doing something else with their lives, but decided to do something bigger than themselves,” the chief said. “We don’t get rich in the military by money, but what they’re doing by making a difference in our world will make them feel rich inside.
“The American people truly appreciate your service,” the chief said. “When you travel home, many people will want to know where you were deployed and what you did. You can tell them how you made a difference in Afghanistan for generations to come.”