Friday, October 19, 2007

CENTCOM commander visits 380th AEW Airmen

19 Sept 2007
by Master Sgt. Ruby Zarzyczny
380th Air Expeditionary Wing.

SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- The commander of U.S. Central Command visited Airmen from the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Sept. 17 at their forward deployed location in Southwest Asia.

Adm. William J. Fallon was greeted by Brig. Gen. Lawrence Wells, 380th AEW commander; Col. Bruce VanSkiver, the 380th AEW vice commander; Chief Master Sgt. Angelo Wilson, the 380th AEW command chief, and host nation and U.S. Embassy officials.

Admiral Fallon and his staff attended a unit mission brief given by the wing commander. During the briefing, General Wells explained how the 380th AEW missions contribute to contingency operations throughout the area of operation and the war on terrorism.

"Admiral Fallon took special interest in how we provide unblinking (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) support to the combatant commanders. He highlighted the fact that our wing has been instrumental in the positive outcome of recent combat operations and praised our Airmen for their dedicated service," General Wells said.

After the briefing, Admiral Fallon toured a hangar where he was briefed by Airmen and civilian technicians on the U-2 reconnaissance aircraft, Global Hawk and E-3 Sentry AWACS aircraft missions.

"Our goal was to introduce Admiral Fallon to as many young Airmen as possible," General Wells said. "We knew he would be impressed once the Airmen started talking about their mission. And our Airmen were fabulous; they all made me very proud hearing them explain in great detail how they were a key part of the war effort."

Retired senior master sergeant James Cheeley helped brief the admiral on the capabilities of the U-2 aircraft. Mr. Cheeley is the 99th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Lockheed site manager. The retiree is also a 20-year Lockheed veteran with more than 32 years combined experience working with the U-2, and is considered a U-2 subject matter expert.

"I explained how it was built and delivered to the Air Force in April 1989," he said. "They were surprised because they thought all U-2s were 50 years old."

The 380th AEW also hosted a luncheon for Admiral Fallon and his staff, to which several Airmen and their commanders were invited. Admiral Fallon visited with each Airman and acknowledged their contributions to the mission by presenting them with a CENTCOM commander's coin.

"Receiving a coin from the admiral was a great honor," said Staff Sgt. Luvelle Pemberton, a command post specialist with the 380th AEW. "I love doing my job but I know that without the 'One Team, One Fight' concept, we could not be victorious in our fight. I try to give 100 percent every time I walk through my office door."

Sergeant Pemberton also served on the honor guard detail present during the admiral's arrival.

"Just seeing his aircraft with the words United States of America written on it made me proud to be serving my country," the NCO said. "To be honest, I was a little nervous to meet him. He sat right next to me and started asking me about my stay here. My lasting impression of him is that he holds a position in which he has to make tough decisions and stand his ground on what he feels is right for our armed forces and nation. But, take away all the stars and you will see a Sailor, as we are Airmen, proud to serve our country."

Near the end of the luncheon, Admiral Fallon grabbed his chair and sat with every Airman selected to meet him. He asked where they were from and what they liked most about supporting the CENTCOM's mission.

"It was amazing talking about strategic initiatives from the actual general officer that controls the face of our future in the current AOR from a strategic perspective as well as from an angle supporting national and political objectives for the United States of America," said Maj. Anthony Mullinax, the 380th Expeditionary Logistic Readiness Squadron operations officer. "It's not often you get an audience and are able to provide a perspective to leadership at that level."

"Admiral Fallon was quick to praise the families and friends back home for their support of our deployed Airmen," General Wells said. " It was good to know that he appreciated our time spent deployed and that he recognized the importance of the encouragement we get from our loved ones."

Photo - Adm. William J. Fallon talks to Airman 1st Class Alfred Roldan (left) and Senior Airman Aaron Austin during a luncheon Sept. 17 at the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing in Southwest Asia. Admiral Fallon is the U.S. Central Command commander. Airman Roldan is with the 380th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and Airman Austin is with the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Ruby Zarzyczny.

Source: US Air Force. Digg! Digg!

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