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A letter to 18th Air Force Airmen

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew
  • 18th Air Force
To the Airmen of our great global mobility enterprise: thank you!

Last week I had the honor of becoming your 18th Air Force Commander. I can honestly say there are few experiences more rewarding and humbling than command, and even more so when it is command of our Air Force's largest Numbered Air Force.

Although my recent assignments were outside of our enterprise, my heart never left it. I have proudly watched your accomplishments while I was gone, and Evelyn and I are extremely happy to be back with you. We have been, and always will be, a proud Mobility family.

Like you, I understand that the important work of our Nation is impossible without the capabilities we bring. We extend a hand of hope to our friends and those in need, a clenched fist to our enemies, and ultimately answer the call that ensures others can prevail. The bottom line is that we are the best at what we do!

As highly valued members of the world's greatest joint team, we will remain in demand whatever happens in any one place in our global AOR, whether Iraq, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. In a constantly changing operational environment, the one  thing we can count on is an insatiable demand for mobility. In short, we are in a time of completion, execution, and preparation. In that near term that means as our operations in Afghanistan transition into a new phase, we'll execute our retrograde and redeployment and prepare for tomorrow's demands.

None of us have a crystal ball, so I can't tell you exactly what tomorrow holds. However, we do know that resources will be increasingly constrained. Up until now we have lived with tremendous abundance and high operations tempo, but tomorrow will undoubtedly present new challenges. My job, and yours, is to lead the change that will make us more effective and efficient in the face of those challenges.

Obviously, I owe you some specific answers on exactly how we will codify, sustain, and strengthen our enterprise. But don't forget that shaping the future is our collective responsibility. It will require you to be innovative and to set the conditions for your people to deliver on that innovation. It is my belief that we will be successful based on a strong core of leadership principles that make the mission our number one job, that force us to exemplify and demand the best performance from our people, that ensure we remain safe and disciplined in our operations, and are loyal to our commanders, subordinates, families, and each other.

I look forward to hearing from you as I visit each of your units: your innovative ideas, concerns for the future, and thoughts on how we can do better. We have hard work ahead of us, but it is my pledge to you that I will be right there beside you as we do it. Together, we will be successful as we continue to answer the call as we always have.

Thank you for you selfless and dedicated service!