CSAF visits Bagram, connects with Airmen

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, spent a portion of his visit to the Air Forces Central Command area of responsibility engaging with Airmen, NCOs and officers during an Airman’s Call here Dec. 15.

During the visit, which included the chief of staff’s wife, Betty, Welsh spoke with Airmen, listened to their stories of service, updated them on pressing issues facing the Air Force, and thanked them for their service.

“I’m here for no other reason than to say thank you,” Welsh said. “Thank you for being as good as you are at what you do, and thank you for taking it seriously.”

Welsh expressed how every Airman, regardless of rank, plays a vital role in accomplishing the Air Force mission.

“Never forget how critical you are to this organization, this wing, this Air Force, this joint military force, and this coalition,” Welsh said. “Don’t forget it until you’re the chief master sergeant of the Air Force or the chief of staff of the Air Force for that matter. You can do anything you want. Just remember how important you are and remember how important the Airmen sitting around you are.”

The general also expressed how crucial it is to remain focused on the mission and maintain the pride of service that breeds success.

“There are always distractions going on, things that divert your focus if you let them, and as a result, we lose a bit of that pride,” Welsh said. “I want you guys to focus on the job, get the mission done, make sure we’re getting better at fighting the fight, and allow me to worry about things like sequestration and force shaping. Just stay sharp and maintain your pride.”

The all-call included a question-and-answer session with the general fielding questions from Airmen about what was on their minds. Welsh also emphasized the importance of opening the lines of communication between leader and subordinate to facilitate the trust and dedication that keeps the force strong.

“There are Airmen getting frustrated about things before having all the facts,” Welsh said, using the brief suspension of tuition assistance as an example. "The leaders who should've been getting answers and information for their Airmen and passing along the facts weren't doing it.”

"We will fail if that's how we communicate," he continued. "I expect better from you; I expect better from me. We have to work this one together and I’m open to any suggestions you may have.”

Wrapping up his remarks, the chief of staff reminded Airmen never to forget why they wear the uniform and serve.

“Wearing this uniform is different,” Welsh said. “We’re not like other people. I’ve known you all for about an hour now, but I’d die for you. And I’m just naive enough to believe you’d do the same for me. That’s why you’re here. That’s why we stand beside each other, hold each other up, pick each other up off the battlefield; that’s why we serve and that’s why we love it.”