Defense secretary visits Nellis

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jack Sanders
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Defense Secretary Ash Carter visited the Nellis Air Force Base Aug. 26 to observe Red Flag 15-4 operations and speak to Airmen and coalition partners about the future of the force and innovation.

While at the base, the secretary visited the 414th Combat Training Squadron, toured the Combined Air Operations Center, visited the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Strike Aircraft Maintenance Unit to see F-15E Strike Eagle maintenance Airmen at work and held an all call.

"It was a huge honor for us at Strike AMU that he would take the time out of his day to invest such a personal interest in us," said Capt. Christopher Bright, the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Strike AMU officer in charge. "He seemed like someone who generally cares."

During the secretary's visit he actively sought out Airmen and had them explain to him their role in the squadron.

"Every time I come here I'm so impressed," Carter said. "I'm impressed by how realistic the training that is done here is."

Red Flag is one of the most advanced training programs in the world and is a realistic combat training exercise involving the air forces of the U.S. and its allies. Red Flag is coordinated at Nellis AFB and conducted on the vast bombing and gunnery ranges of the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The secretary said as a country, America's military is in a period of transitioning to a full-spectrum defense against less traditional enemies.

"We need to look ahead to a full spectrum of threats," Carter said.

Before departing, he emphasized that training -- like what happens on Nellis AFB -- is what moves the U.S. forward and away from a narrower mindset.

"You here at Nellis AFB are at the center of America's military transition to full spectrum," Carter said. "The new technology like the F-35(A Lightning II) and all the other stuff like, space, cyber, electronic warfare and all the other technology represented here is an ingredient of that transition, but the most important ingredient to it is you.

"All of this doesn't matter without you, without skilled people who know how to operate, who know how to maintain, and who know how to imagine future operations. Without you the technology doesn't get us anywhere. At the end of the day the most important ingredient in the finest fighting force the world has ever known is you."