Hurlburt Field, FL (Lt. Gen. Brad Heithold) – Air Commandos: As we say goodbye to 2014 and look ahead to 2015, the Command Chief and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for your incredible dedication, hard work and selfless sacrifice over the past year. We are extremely impressed and proud of your successes on and off the battlefield. Chief Caruso and I are extraordinarily proud to serve with you as your Command team. It’s an honor to come to work each day and know we have America’s finest men and women serving in AFSOC.
Time and again, you have truly proven yourselves as Quiet Professionals, working as a team and dedicated to getting the mission done regardless of who receives credit. Your actions have earned the respect and admiration of our joint and international partners and our Air Force and USSOCOM senior leaders are amazed at your many incredible accomplishments.
Looking ahead, the New Year will undoubtedly bring more than a few opportunities and challenges for continued success. Though we live in a world of fiscal constraints and ever-changing security challenges, the Chief and I know our units are well-prepared to address those demands head-on. We will stay focused on our command priorities and charge ahead to defend our country and our freedoms wherever and whenever we are asked to do so.
First, we will provide combat ready forces to execute the mission taskings of USSOCOM and the Geographic Combatant Commanders. Our Nation expects that we have the people and capabilities to quickly address the most pressing problems and we will not let the American people down when freedom and security is threatened anywhere across the globe.
We will also create an environment for Airmen and our families to thrive. This priority is crucial to the success of the first priority above. We simply cannot do our mission without you, our people. People are our most valuable resource and we must take care of you and you must take care of one another. To that end, Chief Caruso will specifically be focusing on this priority. He will drive to help our units realize and affect a culture of pride, professionalism and performance and together we will take AFSOC to a new level of excellence and improvement. In 2015, let’s start a never-before-seen pride epidemic in our command. Let it start with you. Additionally, in 2015 the Chief will be looking to our NCO corps to ensure we stop talking about our issues and start getting after them like only AF NCO’s can. This initiative is about NCO empowerment and our effort to continue to set and enforce standards, hold each other accountable and treat one another with dignity and respect at all times.
We will transform training to optimize human performance to make sure we remain the finest fighting force our Nation has ever seen. We will develop our Air Commandos by increasing effectiveness and efficiency in our training. Our training should be the very best we can afford and the most intense we can provide. Our training should be realistic and focused and not simply just in time. We must deliberately plan our training and hold to that plan even when situations change. We have to be disciplined and rigorous with our training plans. This applies to all AFSC’s and activities command-wide.
Lastly, we will continue to modernize and sustain the force to ensure you have the tools you need to be successful. We will optimize our force structure and identify next-generation AFSOC capabilities to keep us at the tip of the spear.
We are well postured to have another incredible year as Air Commandos in 2015. I know each and every one of you will continue to push boundaries and find new and incredible ways to get the mission done. Remember to look out for each other throughout the year to keep our AFSOC family safe, thriving and growing personally and professionally. Know that the Chief and I, as well as the entire AFSOC leadership team are here to support you.
Again, we are so grateful for your dedicated service this past year and are excited for the year to come. We are America’s Air Commandos…Anytime, Anyplace!
Happy New Year!