News Search


CSAF inspires Columbus AFB

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Cory Concha
  • 14th Student Squadron
It's not every day the highest ranking uniformed officer in the Air Force visits your base. Columbus Air Force Base had the privilege of hosting Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Sept. 5 and 6.

Welsh, who is in charge of the more than 690,000 men and women who compose the active duty, guard, reserve and civilian Air Force employees, visited the base to speak at Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Class 14-14's graduation. The event was one of many during Columbus AFB's Heritage to Horizons week, celebrating the base's history.

"You won't find many people who have been stationed at Columbus AFB who don't rave about it," Welsh said.

Welsh's son also earned his coveted silver wings on Columbus AFB, marking the last time Welsh visited the base.

"I got to watch my father, who served in the Air Force for 35 years as a pilot, pin the wings on [my son] John's chest. He didn't just give him wings, he kind of handed over an Air Force."

During his visit, Welsh took the time to address the wing and the local community through various events including a Base Community Council-sponsored community reception, a news conference and a wing All Call.

Welsh emphasized the importance of outreach and community involvement, an idea Columbus AFB is already familiar with.

This community involvement allows the base to continue its mission of Producing Pilots, Advancing Airmen and Feeding the Fight, even in the face of sequestration, furlough and force management measures.

"[Our job] remains to fight and win this nation's wars, and we have to be good at this, so don't lose focus," Welsh said. "Keep doing your job."

Welsh inspired confidence into base members, encouraging them to be involved in developing ways to overcome difficulties facing the Air Force.

"We just have to be smarter, more clever and more innovative about the way we do our job," he said. "I am an unashamed fan of our Air Force."

Welsh's fandom is magnified through social media, in an effort to stay in touch with not only Airmen but the general public.

"I'm actually on Facebook and Twitter now. You have to use social media to get the story out as quickly as you can, whether the story is a good one or a bad one," Welsh said. "Just put the facts on the street. Social media helps us with that."

You can follow Gen. Welsh on Facebook and on Twitter @GenMarkWelsh.