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CSAF, CMSAF bring message of thanks to deployed Airmen

Gen. Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force (left), poses for a picture with 1st Lt. Meghan Eckenrode, 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron (center) and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, James Cody (right), in the Blatchford-Preston Complex Dining Facility at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar Dec. 11. Welsh and Cody met with Airmen during their visit to AUAB and thanked them for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman/Released)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, left, poses for a picture with 1st Lt. Meghan Eckenrode, of the 379th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody in the Blatchford-Preston Complex Dining Facility at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Dec. 11. Welsh and Cody met with Airmen during their visit to AUAB and thanked them for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

Gen. Mark Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, greets a deployed service member in the Blatchford-Preston Complex Dining Facility at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar Dec. 11. Welsh met with deployed service members during his visit to AUAB and thanked them for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman/Released)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III greets a deployed service member in the Blatchford-Preston Complex Dining Facility at Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar, Dec. 11. Welsh met with deployed service members during his visit to AUAB and thanked them for their service. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. James Hodgman)

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody visited Airmen in Jordan, Kuwait, Iraq and Qatar from Dec 8-11.

“Our Airmen are laser focused, and they understand the importance of what they’re doing,” Cody said.  “The day-to-day impact they are having in this theater is amazing.”

The Air Force’s top officer and enlisted leader made the trip to meet with deployed Airmen and thank them for all they do to defend America.

“Our Airmen are really good at their jobs, really good at understanding how they fit into the bigger scheme of things and they’re inventing new and better ways to do every job from maintenance to delivering strikes on the enemy,” Welsh said. “They continue to prove they are better than Airmen have ever been; that’s one of the things that make this Air Force great.”

While Welsh remained proud of America’s Airmen, he also stressed the Air Force faces many challenges in the future such as modernization and continuing to build partnership capacity.

“Air forces that fall behind the technology curve fail,” he said. “We must modernize the Air Force and we must give our Airmen the tools to do the job five, 10 and 50 years from now.”

Another challenge facing the Air Force, Welsh said, is ensuring America’s Airmen never forget how valuable they are to the mission.

“I think the greatest challenge is making sure every Airman knows they are valued, they are critically important to the team, and their opinions are respected and sought after,” Welsh said. “I think if we can keep our Airmen proud of who they are and who they stand beside, our Air Force will solve every other problem. It’s all about Airmen loving being Airmen. If we do that, we’re fine.”

Welsh and Cody also emphasized how important it is for supervisors and commanders to know their Airmen.  

“They have to know you care about them and you have to get to know them,” Cody said. “We have great Airmen and they bring great capabilities, but first and foremost they are people. They have to feel valued for who they are and you have to know their stories to do that.”

Without knowing the background of Airmen, knowing what motivates them and what they care about, it’s impossible to lead them,” Welsh said. “Their stories are unique. Some are uplifting. Some are sad, but each one is unique to that Airman and if you don’t know that story it’s hard to lead that Airman as well as you could otherwise.”

“People like to feel valued, they like to know people care about them, about their future, their job, their opportunities and their family,” Welsh continued. “If you don’t know their stories, it’s hard to lead Airmen. It’s all about making the Air Force more effective and that starts by making every Airman more effective.”

Before departing the region, Welsh and Cody had one final message of gratitude for America’s Airmen.

“We appreciate everything you do every day,” Cody said. “We’re also grateful for the continued support of our families back home.”

“Thank you for everything you do,” Welsh said. “Thank you for who you are, for what you do, how well you do it, thanks for what you represent, thanks for standing by each other, thank you for serving.”

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