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SecAF thanks Aviano Airmen for their dedication, service

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with an Airman during a tour of the 31st Medical Group April 30, 2015, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. James learned about cutting-edge programs the group has implemented and thanked medics for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with an Airman during a tour of the 31st Medical Group April 30, 2015, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. James learned about cutting-edge programs the group has implemented and thanked medics for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Areca T. Wilson)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with Airmen during an all call April 30, 2015, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. James discussed Air Force priorities and current operations and thanked 31st Fighter Wing Airmen for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with Airmen during an all call April 30, 2015, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. James discussed Air Force priorities and current operations and thanked 31st Fighter Wing Airmen for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with Airmen during an all call April 30, 2015, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. James discussed Air Force priorities and current operations and thanked 31st Fighter Wing Airmen for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James speaks with Airmen during an all call April 30, 2015, at Aviano Air Base, Italy. James discussed Air Force priorities and current operations and thanked 31st Fighter Wing Airmen for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Evelyn Chavez)

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James visited Aviano Air Base April 30, 2015, and thanked the Airmen for their service and dedication to the mission.

During her visit, James spoke with Airmen and wing leaders and toured base facilities. She also had the opportunity to sit with junior Airmen, attend a mission brief and host a base-wide all call. She addressed Air Force challenges and opportunities with the budget, operations tempo and most importantly, according to James, taking care of Airmen.

"Days like today are the part of my job I enjoy the most, because I get to see our great Air Force in action," James said.

According to James, as she visits Air Force installations, the number one issue Airmen bring to her attention is the impact of force shaping.

"The downsizing is over and we are even asking for upsizing," James said. "Size matters because you can't be everywhere at the same time. We are a busy, global force. The number one priority in the budget for us is trying to get sequestration lifted."

James said she's learned that its people who make great organizations. The secretary applauded the men and women of Aviano for their dedication and passion to the service's demands.

"We are performing magnificently as an Air Force, and that is attributed to all of you," James said.

James also highlighted the upcoming Public Service Recognition Week. The weeklong event honors and celebrates the impact of civilian Airmen on mission accomplishment.

"To the almost 400 civilian Airmen here at Aviano -- thank you," James said. "You are a crucial part of executing the Air Force mission. We couldn't do it without your contributions."

During her remarks, she congratulated the 31st Fighter Wing's recent success during an Estonia deployment, the Libyan Embassy evacuation and other joint-efforts in which the wing participated.

"I want you to know how proud I am of you, Team Aviano, for all you do to support missions in both the fighter and mobility world," James said.

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