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Air Force Featured Stories

SecAF visits AF special operators

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James learned how Air Commandos operate during a visit here, Oct. 20-21.

James said she is making her way to bases across the Air Force to familiarize herself with various missions and discuss her priorities with Airmen.

“If you look back at our 67-year history, today we are the smallest Air Force we have ever been, yet our operations tempo is nearly through the roof,” she said. “The great news is we have great technology and even better people.”

Immediately after landing at Hurlburt Field, the secretary attended mission briefs at various units and viewed four different aircraft. Later that night, she participated in training flights of an AC-130U Gunship and a CV-22 Osprey, getting an up-close look at the capabilities both aircraft and their crews can deliver.

“Since arriving, I have had the privilege of meeting many very wonderful, passionate and dedicated Airmen in all the communities,” James said.

The next morning more than 500 Airmen gathered at the Freedom Hangar for an all-call with the Secretary.

She discussed a variety of topics but said the Air Force is fueled by its people.

“I would like to talk to everyone about the three priorities I have established for our Air Force,” she said. “The most important priority is taking care of the people. Everything comes down to people. Technology is cool, equipment is cool, but if you do not have the right people, you don’t have anything to hang your hat on.”

After the all-call she visited multiple Air Force Special Operations Command units and had lunch with Airmen..

“My experience with the SecAF was remarkable,” said Staff Sgt. Marcus Wright, an NCO-in charge with the 1st Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron commander support staff. “Having the opportunity to listen and converse with someone so important to my Air Force career was amazing. I feel she is truly passionate about what she does and is really trying to make things happen in today’s Air Force.”

Following the lunch, James had a one-on-one meeting with Jill Stewmon, Hurlburt Field’s Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, followed by a final brief and tour at the Air Force Special Operations Air Warfare Center.

“I always meet with the base’s SARC because it is a top issue with me,” she said. “We are working on stamping out sexual assault in our Air Force and we all have a role to play. We want you all to take this seriously and provide the correct atmosphere for all here in our Air Force.”

Concluding her speech, she thanked Airmen for their dedication.

“I thank you all so very much,” James said. “I am onward and upward for the rest of my day and am thoroughly impressed with everything you guys do.”