WASHINGTON (AFNS) --
Michael Donley, the 22nd Secretary of the Air Force, was inducted into the Air Force Order of the Sword at Joint Base Anacostia Bolling, D.C. Sept. 13.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody led the ceremony to induct the former secretary, who was only the 9th person in Air Force history to be inducted in the headquarters Air Force Order of the Sword.
The chief described Donley, who retired in 2013, as a tremendous leader who deserves the rare honor.
"Every time I was with Secretary Donley, he wanted to talk about you -- there were many times others wanted to steer the conversation in a different direction, but he wouldn't let it happen," Cody said to the 300 enlisted Airmen attending the ceremony. "He always had you -- and all of our 690,000 Airmen -- on his mind. He truly cared about us and I can think of no one better to be honored with the Order of the Sword."
The Air Force's Order of the Sword was founded by the enlisted force to recognize and honor military senior officers and civilians, for significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the Air Force enlisted corps, mission effectiveness as well as overall military establishment.
During the ceremony, Donley expressed gratitude to the Airmen for inducting him into the order.
"Words are not enough to thank you and the enlisted men and women of the United States Air Force for selecting me for induction into the Order of the Sword," said Donley. "I am sincerely touched and humbled to be placed in the company of the many great Air Force leaders who have been honored to receive this award."
Donley noted the honor of working each day with Airmen, particularly the non-commissioned officer corps, whose “unrivaled professionalism” gives the Air Force its strength.
“You are expert trainers, leaders, coaches, and mentors to our entire force -- from junior Airmen to officers alike,” Donley said. “What’s more, our NCO corps is the envy of the world, and for that we owe many of you a debt of gratitude."