HomeNewsArticle Display

Enlisted corps bestows highest honor upon Welsh

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III thanks Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody and members of the mess during the Order of the Sword dining-in, April 22, 2016, in Montgomery, Ala. The Order of the Sword is bestowed to those who have made significant contributions to the Air Force enlisted corps, and during his speech Welsh shared experiences in his career that shaped his opinion of the enlisted corps. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III thanks Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody and members of the mess during the Order of the Sword dining-in, April 22, 2016, in Montgomery, Ala. The Order of the Sword is bestowed to those who have made significant contributions to the Air Force enlisted corps, and during his speech Welsh shared experiences in his career that shaped his opinion of the enlisted corps. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody ushers in Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III at the Order of the Sword dining-in April 22, 2016, in Montgomery, Ala. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody ushers in Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III at the Order of the Sword dining-in April 22, 2016, in Montgomery, Ala. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III thanks Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody and members of the mess during the Order of the Sword dining-in, April 22, 2016, in Montgomery, Ala. The Order of the Sword is bestowed to those who have made significant contributions to the Air Force enlisted corps, and during his speech Welsh shared experiences in his career that shaped his opinion of the enlisted corps. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody, right, presents the Order of the Sword to Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, left, April 22, 2016, in Montgomery, Ala. The Order of the Sword is the highest honor the enlisted corps can bestow to an individual. (U.S. Air Force photo/Scott M. Ash)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. (AFNS) -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III was inducted into the Air Force Order of the Sword during a ceremony April 22 in Montgomery, Alabama.

An ancient tradition adopted by the Air Force in 1967, the Order of the Sword is the highest level of honor and tribute the enlisted corps can give its leaders. The sword symbolizes honor, truth, justice and power, and the induction distinguishes a leader among leaders.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody presented the sword to Welsh, and he explained that the Order of the Sword is for those leaders who have made significant contributions to the enlisted corps.

"Tonight, the entire Air Force is honoring you, all of the enlisted Airmen that you have helped," Cody said. "They are all thinking of you and saying, 'What a great leader.' And I can say that you have redefined what it means to be a good leader among leaders and what it means to know an Airman."

Before the ceremony, a junior-enlisted Airman had an encounter with Welsh that exemplified the reason why the general was being honored.

While standing and waiting for Welsh's arrival, Airman Andrew Dang, a 42nd Contracting Squadron contracting specialist, admitted to the surrounding chief master sergeants that he wanted to shake Welsh’s hand. The chiefs thought this was a great idea, so when Welsh walked by, they nudged Dang toward him. The Airman quickly shook his hand but was shocked when Welsh invited him to walk into the venue with him.

"It was such a privilege, because of all the people in the room, he chose me, an Airman to walk with him," Dang said. "I was awestricken, it was amazing. I am truly thankful."

Welsh has gained the reputation of reaching out and connecting with Airmen wherever he goes, and the Order of the Sword ceremony was no different. Before presenting Welsh with the sword, Cody commended the general for his concern and care for Airmen.

"This is a significant way to honor you and there is no better example of a leader who should have it, but it almost pales in comparison to what you have given us as an Air Force," he said.

In his remarks, Welsh shared a story from his career that shaped his opinion of the Air Force's enlisted corps.

While deployed during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, Welsh said he had lost a pilot from his squadron. In his grief, he went to the chaplain's tent where he sat alone until an Airman came in and put his arm around him and just sat with him.

"He didn't have to check on me to see if I was OK," Welsh said. "He certainly didn't have to sit there and grieve with me, and he somehow had the brilliance to not say anything or to interject his feelings about how bad he felt; he just felt it with me. I'll never forget him, but that's what the enlisted corps does. They do what's necessary, and they do it when it's necessary and they do it until it's time to move on to the next task. They always take care of their own."

Welsh concluded his comments with a charge and a debt of gratitude to all Airmen.

"I do love you. Take care of each other. Lead our Airmen. Keep standing for what you stand for, and if any of you ever need help, find me. I'd be honored if you called," he said.

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @Travis60AMW: Beats the garage I have at my place ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Check out this C-17's home when it's not out delivering cargo! #NoBounds #Pr
RT @ArmedwScience: Do you know B.A.T.M.A.N.? Battlefield Air Targeting Man-Aided Knowledge is the @AFResearchLab's advanced technology de…
RT @AETCommand: How are you staying active today? Last Saturday, Airmen from @HollomanAFB, @CannonAFB_ & @KIRTLAND377ABW competed in the "B…
RT @AETCommand: In order to support #readiness & build a more #lethal force, leaders must foster & promote resilience among their Airmen. D…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: Commanding General of the Philippine Air Force, Lt Gen Briguez said it best, our relationship is etched in stone — iro…
RT @HQAirUniversity: What is @usairforce culture? AU's Command Chief Simmons talks about organizational culture and how the actions modele…
RT @thejointstaff: #DYK today marks the 70th anniversary of the Chairmanship? Watch recently discovered footage from the historic swearing…
This week really flew by fast. Be sure to #Follow, #Like & #RT our @AFThunderbirds for more info on the premiere a… https://t.co/5BM8N7sZTR
RT @AFSpace: Chief Towberman, AFSPC Command Chief, knows the importance of recharging, and implements it in his work-life balance. @AF_SMC
RT @AETCommand: What happened in #LasVegas...will help foster a culture of collaboration & innovation in the #USAF: the July 23 @AFWERX Fus…
RT @GenDaveGoldfein: It was absolutely impressive getting a first-hand look at the mission and innovative efforts of the 15th Wing’s Sky Wa…
.@EielsonAirForce Red Flag-Alaska is a series of @PACAF commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. & part… https://t.co/0bKkyvsVf9
RT @US_Stratcom: #24/7 #AlwaysReady 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron #Airmen work together to #GetErDone. #CombatReadyForc
RT @DeptofDefense: Cockpit view. Press ▶️ to ride along with the crew of an F-15 Strike Eagle from RAF Lakenheath, England 🇬🇧. The @48Figh
Exercise Agile Lightning concludes after showcasing agile operations essential to the defense of U.S. assets and p… https://t.co/vVR32kvtaP
What innovative way would you like to ease your job and the jobs of other Airmen? #InnovativeAF #USAFhttps://t.co/fKqcPisybt
RT @HAFB: Workers at #HillAFB recently installed the last of 173 new wings on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft, finalizing a project that began…
RT @AFWERX: HAPPENING NOW: We're hosting the first-ever @usairforce #SparkCollider. Tune in live: https://t.co/gTKMNPM9fK https://t.co/xIlJ…
RT @EdwardsAFB: Fix these broken wings – part fabrication saves Air Force time, money - https://t.co/UCvLQ0fAqy #ForTheWarfighter #TheCente