USAFE/AFAFRICA leadership talks about mission, Airmen and families during visit to 501st CSW

501st Combat Support Wing
by Staff Sgt. Brian Stives, 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
February 14, 2013

RAF ALCONBURY, United Kingdom — Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Craig A. Adams, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief, received an in-depth tour of the Air Force’s only combat support wing and its mission during a visit here Feb. 5- 6.

“Chief and I couldn’t be more proud of the mission you do every day,” Breedlove told the members of the 501st Combat Support Wing during all-calls held at RAF Alconbury and RAF Croughton. “Your mission is not going to diminish over time.”

“Thanks for what you have done and thank you for what you will be doing,” said Adams. “Thank you for being focused on today’s mission.”

During the first day of their whirlwind tour, the general and chief visited the dormitories and clinic at RAF Alconbury before heading off to RAF Molesworth to see the 423rd Security Forces Squadron firing range and 423rd Communications Squadron’s Building 400.

“I thought it was a real honor, it’s not every day you get a coin from a four-star general or the chance to meet the USAFE commander,” said Staff Sgt. Jeremy Epperson, 423rd Communications Squadron NCOIC of registry at the RAF Alconbury post office, who was coined by Breedlove and asked about himself and his job. “The fact that he wanted to know about me, made me feel like he really cares about the people.”

After an all-call at RAF Alconbury the morning of Feb. 6, the USAFE leadership team went to RAF Croughton to see how the 422nd Air Base Group provides world-class combat support enabling communications and global strike operations at RAF Croughton, RAF Fairford and RAF Welford before holding an all-call at RAF Croughton.

“I thought it was exciting to get up and give General Breedlove a briefing,” said Senior Airman Monte Cook, 422nd Communications Squadron HF radio technician. “It is always interesting to see people’s reactions to what we do. Some people may understand it, coming from similar backgrounds and ask a lot of in-depth questions. Others, like General Breedlove, tend to appreciate something that they may not have taken a part in when they were coming up, but can see what other people do to enable them to do their jobs.”

During both all-calls, the general and chief focused on three priorities: Mission, Airmen and Families.

“We are going to face incredible challenges in the next five years and I want you to learn about them, but don’t let it distract you from the mission,” said the general. “With all of the cuts coming in the future, we will be the smallest Air Force in history. We will be even smaller than the day we were formed. Even with all of this, we are more lethal than ever before and it is all because of you.”

During the all-call at RAF Croughton, Adams asked four Airmen to stand up; they were the presenters during the RAF Croughton tour.

“I know you guys represent the big organization. But let me tell you, this is the future of our Air Force and it makes me excited,” said Adams. “Thank you for what you do!”

Breedlove talked about changing the culture to a more proactive posture by making “Every Airman a Sensor” and taking the offensive on attacking two of the Air Force’s most troublesome problems – suicide and sexual assault.

“Our Air Force is getting smaller and when it comes to Airmen preying on other Airmen, I have no sympathy for the predators. The predators are my candidates to help make our Air Force smaller,” said Breedlove. “But we can’t do it alone; we need your help to take care of our Airmen.”

Adams echoed the general’s comments and said Airmen must treat each other as family and with respect. He said it’s an Airman’s duty to take care of themselves, each other and their family.

“If you are not pushing yourself away from your desk and getting home at a reasonable time in the evenings to spend some time with your families or taking the time to spend with your families on the weekends, then shame on you,” said the chief. “We need to do that. Your family is there before you come into the Air Force, your family is what gets you through the Air Force and they are going to be the ones on the other side when we hang up our uniforms. So, we need to make sure we don’t forget them along the way. When you go home tonight, tell them thank you for everything they do – from us.”