JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii (AFNS) --
Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall visited Airmen and Guardians from Headquarters Pacific Air Forces and the 15th Wing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Aug. 16-18.
As the 26th Secretary of the Air Force, Kendall is the department's civilian leader responsible for organizing, training, equipping and ensuring the welfare of nearly 700,000 Airmen, Guardians and their families.
During a town hall event, Kendall underscored his "one team, one fight" slogan, which cements his intent for PACAF Airmen and Guardians to continue to work alongside sister services, other federal government organizations, and allied and partner nations.
"‘One team, one fight’ is my shorthand way to talk about what we need to do collectively, and what our purpose should be collectively," Kendall said. "And it's something that will be a mantra that I'll use that I'll think about, and I would like other people in the organization to do the same. If you're not contributing to that mission, if you're not serving as an effective part of the team, you need to be rethinking what you're doing."
Kendall also highlighted the importance of why Airmen need to become fully vaccinated as a countermeasure to protect themselves, their wingmen, and their families from the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's a very simple correlation," Kendall said. "If you're unvaccinated, you're much more at risk and you're putting your loved ones at risk."
Kendall discussed that keeping Airmen and civilians protected from COVID-19 also helps the Department of the Air Force maintain a high level of readiness because it prevents organizations from losing critical members of the Air Force team.
"I can't encourage people enough to get vaccinations," Kendall said. "The Secretary of Defense has indicated that it's going to become mandatory in the not too distant future. So don't wait. Get out there and get vaccinated now."
Kendall also emphasized his goals to posture the U.S. Air Force for strategic competition, modernize the force through innovation and diversity, and build a culture of resilience and readiness.
"We're in a technological competition, as much as anything else," Kendall said. "We're in competition where our skill sets, our abilities to lead, and all the features that we bring to the table matter. What we need to be doing as leaders is helping everybody in our team grow and become more capable as a member of that team."
Kendall highlighted the importance of diversity and inclusion and how it contributes to interoperability, efficiency, creativity, and lethality across the U.S. Air Force.
"We're in a tough fight, we have serious competitors," Kendall said. "We need to get as much out of every single member of the team as possible. And the way you do that is you treat each other with respect and with dignity, and you help each other perform to a higher level."
Kendall stressed that teamwork is the universal foundation of military success, especially today as the Air Force, Department of Defense, and U.S. nation faces a wide range of challenges to overcome. He highlighted his outlook for the future, not only for PACAF, but for Airmen, Guardians, civilians, and partners across the Indo-Pacific.
"I just want to say from my trip out here that I am so impressed with the people I've had a chance to talk to," Kendall said. "We have tremendous capability. We have a tough job on our hands staying ahead of our competitors. But I'm very confident that the people I've seen and all the others like them serving throughout the region are up to that job."