Letter to Airmen - Reflections for the AOR

  • Published
  • By Michael W. Wynne
  • Secretary of the Air Force
To our warriors stateside and around the world, I salute you! I just returned from my third trip to the Central Command AOR, and once again I am both re-energized and incredibly impressed by the consistently motivated, innovative and professional Airmen I had the privilege to meet. I am truly humbled by their warrior spirit and dedication to mission readiness as they continue to answer our Nation's call so admirably in the face of personal sacrifice.

Airmen Contributions. At such bases as Balad, Ali Al Salem, Bagram, Al Dhafra, Al Udeid and Ramstein, I witnessed firsthand the critical contributions our stateside and deployed Airmen are making to the Joint team's accomplishments in the AOR. For example, our UAVs are providing the unblinking eye of vigilance that eliminates any refuge for enemy combatants and protects our Joint and Coalition forces on the ground. In parallel with the surge in ground forces, air strike taskings have also surged dramatically throughout both Iraq and Afghanistan. Our CAOC continues to integrate reachback support with operations throughout Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa to maximize the combat power we provide the Combined and Joint fight. Meanwhile, Airmen are representing our Air Force proudly to the Joint team in integrated Air Force positions and "In Lieu Of" taskings across the AOR.

You Are Making History. For such fledging democracies to succeed, the people in Iraq and Afghanistan must feel secure enough in their environment to self-stabilize their countries. Whether integrated in coalition operations, interacting with the local populace, or bringing Air Force innovation to Provisional Reconstruction Teams, our Airmen are ambassadors across the AOR. Many of the indicators and reports from the field are positive, but every Airman must continue doing his or her individual part to ensure success of the entire Joint team. We are hopeful that the transformation of self-governance will continue to succeed, and we know this will require the dedication of our Airmen to help make it happen.

Make it Better. I am so impressed that every Total Force Airman - Guard, Reserve, Active Duty and Civilian - has made it their personal mission to make their environment better and task easier for future rotations. From the maintenance and operations Airmen improving mission accomplishment to the CE Airmen improving quality of life, each AEF rotation continues to make life better for their successors. In just two years since my first visit, I have seen unprecedented progress across the AOR that makes me proud to lead our great Air Force.

To our Airmen who are either deployed or supporting theater operations from home station, thank you for your contributions to the Joint team in defending our Nation and providing the security these newly-free societies need to flourish.