ROME, N.Y. (AFNS) --
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones traveled to upstate New York Nov. 24 to thank Airmen at the Eastern Air Defense Sector for their around-the-clock efforts defending the nation.
Jones is the second-highest ranking civilian official in the Department of the Air Force, serving directly under Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. Together with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr., Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, as well as the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass and the Chief Master Sergeant of the Space Force Roger A. Towberman, the six make up the senior leadership team of the Department of the Air Force.
Jones recognized the New York Air National Guardsmen and Canadian Forces members at the EADS, many of whom would be working over the Thanksgiving holiday.
“You defend the homeland from airborne attack 24/7 - 365,” Jones said. “We share this critical mission with the Canadian military and our countries are stronger and safer for it. Thank you for standing watch.”
The visit’s focal point was EADS’ Battle Control Center, where Airmen explained the unit’s around-the-clock operations to the under secretary. EADS’ Mission Defense Team also briefed Jones on its cyber defense efforts.
The senior leader recognized three Airmen during her stop. Jones coined Tech. Sgt. Brittany Carrier, a member of the 224th Support Squadron; Staff Sgt. Brandon Kerr of the 224th Air Defense Squadron, and Staff Sgt. Laura Fontana of the 224th SPTS Security Forces, for their superior work.
Jones toured the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, also located in Rome, prior to arriving at EADS.
EADS is composed of New York Air National Guardsmen from the 224th Air Defense Group, a Canadian Forces detachment, liaison officers from the Army and Navy, federal civilians and civilian contractors. Part of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, the EADS is responsible for the air defense of the eastern U.S.