AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --
The Air Force Chief of Staff spent the day with Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing July 6 to get a first-hand look at how Aviano Air Base, Italy, directly deters adversaries and defends the U.S. and its allies.
During the visit, Gen. David Goldfein spent time with Airmen from the 56th and 57th Rescue Squadrons, newly aligned to Aviano Air Base, where he recounted his personal affinity for what they do and praised the hard work of the hundreds of people who were involved with his rescue in 1999 when he was the 555th Fighter Squadron commander and was shot down over western Serbia.
“I would not be standing here today if Airmen like you had not answered the call when I needed a pick up. Thanks to your families and thanks to you for what you do,” Goldfein said. “I have close ties to personnel recovery, and I’m a satisfied customer."
Before he ended his visit, Goldfein held a base-wide all call and spoke to Airmen about Air Force focus areas: Revitalizing the squadron, building joint leaders and teams and multi-domain command and control.
Goldfein emphasized Aviano’s constant diligence as critical to developing ready, joint warfighters and that every single Airman has a part.
“Every Airman on this base is tied directly into the mission, every one of you plays a role and Aviano connects directly to deterrence,” Goldfein said. “There has never been a more important time to serve … never been a more important time to serve well."
In response to a question about the future of the Air Force, Goldfein stated how it is the Air Force's job to understand enemy capabilities and its own weaknesses, in order to continue providing credible, executable military options to national leadership.
“You and I don’t have the luxury of wishing away a war we don’t want. We have to be prepared,” Goldfein said. “We must be able to produce so many dilemmas for an adversary so that adversary never chooses to take us on.”
Remembering the hundreds of fingers that touched his jet the day he had to eject behind enemy lines, Goldfein reminded Aviano Airmen, “Your finger prints are all over the many missions this wing and this Air Force accomplishes every day. Thank you.”