JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C –
Gen. Darren McDew, the Air Mobility Command commander, spoke to to Joint Base Charleston Airmen during an "All Call" at the base theater, May 22, 2014.
"I believe in our Air Force as an institution," McDew said. "There have been wonderful, amazing Airmen who built the foundation of this Air Force and there are some in this room, continuing to build the core of our force today, and many more in this room who will forge our future. I believe in that."
McDew assumed command of AMC May 5, 2014, and used his visit to Joint Base Charleston to do the two things he said he is best at: telling Airmen how much he appreciates them and at the same time, listening to them.
"AMC is in great shape," said McDew. "Our priorities are well-founded and sound, and they will not change. What we do for a living is so greatly appreciated around the world, and that will not change."
McDew said the immense capability and willingness of today's Airmen and the Air Force's ability to creatively take on and accomplish new missions has been critical to the Air Force's success during the past 12 years. The high operational tempo resulted in the Air Force evolving from an in-garrison force to an actively deployed one.
"During these last 12 years of war, our Air Force has changed," said McDew. "It has changed in a remarkable and great way. Before 2001, we were a different Air Force. It was not uncommon to spend 20 years in the Air Force and never deploy. The last 12 years, you've known nothing but constant and steady deployment. It is so constant and steady ... it's your normal. There are some of you that only know this. The majority of our force only knows this. The emphasis on the warrior spirit is great for our Air Force.
"If you look at the courageous and bold Airmen we have today and go back to the beginning of our Air Force, the only people we thought had those attributes flew airplanes. But they did something more special than that. They were bold; they were courageous, risk-taking Airmen who saw something in this fledgling technology nobody else saw, and through professional and personal risk, forged a new service."
Following his comments, McDew took several questions from Airmen, ranging from leadership tactics, personal successes and failures, to suicide, force shaping and the potential of developing new aircraft.
He charged the attending Airmen with a specific goal: "I want us to think of ourselves as Air Force leaders with unrivaled mobility expertise," McDew said. "I want us to boldly forge our future. I didn't say tiptoe into it, I didn't say think about it. Forge it. Go look up that word. Our focus each and every day should be wrapped around one simple principle; our mission as the United States Air Force - fly, fight and win our nation's wars."