HURLBURT FIELD, FL – With no stars, bars, eagles or oak leafs among their multitude of stripes, the enlisted force of the Air Force Special Operations Command nominated their former Chief of Staff of the Air Force for his induction into The Order of the Sword at Hurlburt Field Nov. 15.
Retired Gen. Norton Schwartz, accompanied by his wife, Suzie, accepted the nomination from Chief Master Sgt. Bill Turner, command chief of AFSOC, in front of more than 300 Air Commandos who lined the road along the distinguished visitor quarters’ parking lot.
“We thank you for your 39 years of service,” Turner said. “For those 39 years, you and Mrs. Schwartz were our best teammates. You gave it your all and took great care of this force. And because of you, we are the Air Force that we are.”
The command chief then presented Schwartz, who served three tours at Hurlburt Field, a plaque bearing the nomination on behalf of the 11,000 enlisted men and women serving around the world under the AFSOC enterprise.
“We accept!” Schwartz said, to the applause of the crowd. “We remain an honorary chief here, so how sweet it is to close the book on this so many years later. Thank you very much.”
The retired general, who once served as commander of the current 1st Special Operations Wing, remarked on the continuing legacy of the both AFSOC and the wing.
“It all started for us here in the fall of 1980,” Schwartz said. “For those of who you don’t think that amazing things can happen in our Air Force, this is proof. You’re in a wonderful business. People know that if someone does bad things to America, this community will find them and make them pay. Do it professionally, do it discreetly, do it without fanfare — you just do it. That’s what you’re a part of — all of you. It doesn’t matter what discipline — everybody counts, especially in special operations.”
Schwartz will become the eighth inductee into AFSOC’s Order, an honor based upon significant contributions to the enlisted force.
“Thank you very much for this special treat for Suzie and me,” he said. “We envy you, we miss it already. So it will be fun to watch you continue to improve and continue to make the mark of Air Force Special Operations and the SOW–any time, any place.”
According to Air Force Instruction 36-2824, “The Order of the Sword was established by the Air Force to recognize and honor military senior officers, colonel and above, and civilian equivalents, for conspicuous and significant contributions to the welfare and prestige of the Air Force enlisted force, mission effectiveness as well as the overall military establishment.”
The AFSOC Order of the Sword induction ceremony is slated for Feb. 1, 2013 at the Emerald Coast Conference Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.