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SecAF visits Guam during Pacific tour

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talks with Staff Sgt. Michael Speakman who was recognized as one of the base’s outstanding Airmen Nov. 19, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. James visited Andersen as part of a visit to get a firsthand look at Airmen in action across the Pacific with stops in Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and South Korea. Speakman is with the 36th Medical Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina M. Brisbin)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James talks with Staff Sgt. Michael Speakman who was recognized as one of the base’s outstanding Airmen Nov. 19, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. James visited Andersen as part of a visit to get a firsthand look at Airmen in action across the Pacific with stops in Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and South Korea. Speakman is with the 36th Medical Operations Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Katrina M. Brisbin)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James discusses her top three priorities and hears from Airmen during an all call Nov. 19, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. James saw firsthand how Andersen Airmen contribute to the ongoing rebalance to the Pacific as well as their role in ensuring peace and security in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James discusses her top three priorities and hears from Airmen during an all call Nov. 19, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. James saw firsthand how Andersen Airmen contribute to the ongoing rebalance to the Pacific as well as their role in ensuring peace and security in the region. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James learns about RQ-4A Global Hawk mission capabilities from talking with 69th Reconnaissance Squadron, Detachment 2 Airmen Nov. 19, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The secretary met and discussed Air Force policies and goals with Airmen and local community leaders during her two-day visit to Andersen and received a firsthand look at the base's critical role in the strategic Pacific rebalance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James learns about RQ-4A Global Hawk mission capabilities from talking with 69th Reconnaissance Squadron, Detachment 2 Airmen Nov. 19, 2014, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The secretary met and discussed Air Force policies and goals with Airmen and local community leaders during her two-day visit to Andersen and received a firsthand look at the base's critical role in the strategic Pacific rebalance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Amanda Morris)

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James visited here Nov. 19-20, to meet with Airmen and gain a better understanding of the central role the island base plays within Pacific Command as part of engagements at Pacific Air Force bases.

During her visit, James was briefed on some of the unique missions found at Andersen AFB, including the continuous bomber presence and theater security package programs, the U.S. Army's terminal high altitude area defense battery site, and the Pacific Regional Training Center.

Members of Andersen AFB also had an opportunity to attend an all call where the secretary discussed her priorities and expressed her appreciation for service members. James said she was impressed with the 36th Wing based on the Airmen she had met so far.

"There are a lot of very fine individual contributors and a big team effort going on here at Andersen," James said. "I have just begun to skim the surface, but I can see how busy you all are and how vital your missions are, and I just want to say thank you for your selfless service."

She went on to talk about her three top priorities as the secretary of the Air Force -- taking care of people, balancing today's readiness with the modernization needs of tomorrow and making every dollar count -- as well as the fiscal environment that has created some of the challenges the Air Force is currently facing.

She also talked about the rebalance to the Pacific and the region's importance in regard to U.S. strategic policy.

One of the primary reasons emphasis is placed on the rebalance is because approximately 60 percent of the world's population lives within the region, along with five of the largest economies, seven of the largest militaries and five of the eight nuclear powers.

These conditions create opportunities for economic and political gains that can be made within the region for the U.S., but the same reasons also create some challenges for the U.S. and its Asian-Pacific partners. James said that Andersen AFB plays an important role in maintaining stability within the Pacific.

"You are truly the front line defenders and responders in a very large, complex, important and volatile neighborhood within our world," she said. "There is lots of activity going on here right now, and even more is projected to occur in the next few years. But for all that activity, it all comes back to people. You have a lot riding on your shoulders but I am certain you are up to the task. Just like your wing motto says, I have no doubt that you are truly 'Prepared to Prevail.'"

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