I would like to address three topics that are important to me. My first topic is professionalism. We are an indispensable part of the total force in the most capable Air Force in the world. The Delaware Air Guard has an enviable reputation for excellence that we should all be committed to continue. You have risen to every challenge and excelled at every task set before you.
Our Active Duty manpower has been reduced by 38% since Operation Desert Storm, all while, as our Vice Chief of Staff General Wilson recently testified before Congress, “the capabilities Airmen provide for the nation and allies have never been more vital, and the global demand for American airpower will only grow in the future.” As we have already seen, the Delaware Air Guard will play a key role in meeting that demand.
In fact, we have just completed the largest deployment of forces since Operation Desert Storm. Approximately 320 Airmen deployed in FY16 to multiple worldwide locations to include SW Asia.
• supporting over 1,230 combat sorties
• transporting approximately 4300 tons of cargo
• transporting over 6760 passengers throughout the US Central Command Area of Responsibility in support of Operations FREEDOM’S SENTINEL and INHERENT RESOLVE
• all while maintaining a 98% percent mission capable rating while deployed.
This brilliant record of achievement earned us the respect and appreciation of the deployed commanders and airmen with whom we served and the thanks of a grateful state and nation. You truly made us proud.
Our Aeromed Squadron has recently returned from their latest deployment caring for our wounded warriors, and our Network Warfare Squadron is about to commence a historic mobilization in command of one of only 4 Cyber National Mission Teams arrayed against some of our nation’s most committed and capable cyber adversaries. I have no doubt they will make us proud, as did those who just returned.
Whether you are a pilot, navigator, nurse, flight engineer, crew chief, maintainer, med tech, medical provider, cyber warrior, security forces that keep us all safe, civil engineering that keep the base running, firefighters that stand ready to respond on the base and on the flight line or any of the others who care for our airmen and support and advise our leaders to make sure we are ready to deploy on 72 hours’ notice, you are part of a proud tradition and a profession of arms that is one of the most respected institutions in this great nation. We must all constantly strive to be professionals worthy of the profound trust and responsibility placed in us. This means striving for constant improvement in our professions personally and and for all of the Airmen we lead.
My second topic is Readiness. Our nation needs us, our state depends on us, our communities believe in us. We must be ready to answer their call.
So a key focus of mine as AAG- Air will be readiness and generation of war-time capability across our operational airlift, aeromed and cyber warfare missions. We must be ready not only to fulfill our federal missions, but also to support our state agencies when called upon to do so in service of our communities. Everyone here has a role to play in that pursuit.
This will require a concerted effort from line supervisors to senior leaders to ensure that we are making the best use of the available training time and to avoid what distractions we can from those efforts. If you see ways in which we can streamline our processes to free up time to improve our training and readiness, please do not hesitate to pass them up your chain of command. I have charged our leadership team to evaluate everything we do to make sure it contributes to, rather than detracts from, our readiness and to make a concerted effort to shed activities, where possible, that distract from essential mission readiness and capability.
Lastly, my third topic is People. Our people are the key to all that we have accomplished and all that we will do for our state and nation in the future. We must take care of and develop them professionally to meet the challenges of the future. We must recruit and retain the best and brightest and provide training and leadership opportunities to grow them into the leaders of our future and to make them want to remain with the Delaware Air Guard. We have done well, but we can do even better. We have exceeded 100% manning for years and now are charged to increase our manning as the Air National Guard grows to meet the nation’s needs. We ask a great deal of you and want to focus on smart growth in critical areas to make sure you have the support you need to raise the bar professionally.
The NCO corps is and must be both the brains and heart of our efforts to grow the next generation of Delaware leaders. We are making investments in you through PACE training and NCO leadership symposiums and ask that you invest your energy in our organization to grow the professionalism within your ranks and by stepping up to assume greater responsibility for our success.
When the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air National Guard, Chief Anderson, visited us recently, he was blown away by the energy and commitment of our Junior Enlisted Council and shared his confidence that the future of the Delaware Air National Guard will be bright because of those young leaders. I could not agree more. We are blessed with seasoned officer and enlisted leaders as well as a rising generation of young airmen waiting for their opportunity to shine. It is incumbent on us as leaders to develop the next generation and give them opportunities to show us what they can do.
If you are like me, at some point you joined the Air Guard for the mission and for the opportunity to serve this great nation, our state and our communities. Let us redouble our efforts to set the standard for professionalism and readiness across the Air National Guard.
The Delaware Air Guard has a great deal to offer to the fight, and it is my honor to lead you into the future. The challenges are great but I am confident that together we are up to the task.