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AFNORTH hosts CC Call | Chicago Composite Squadron

AFNORTH hosts CC Call

AFNORTH hosts CC Call

Posted 10/23/2013   Updated 10/23/2013
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by Mary McHale
1st Air Force Public Affairs

10/23/2013 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – During a recent commander’s call, the Air Forces Northern commander not only presented awards and decorations, he also shared his priorities, concerns and personal sentiments about recent issues affecting the AFNORTH enterprise.

Leading off with thoughts about the unpredictable series of sequestration and furlough-related events, Lt. Gen. William Etterempathized with those affected and praised their professionalism. He saidthere are still items to work out and glitches should be expected as the whole of the government returns to work.

“It’s been a difficult few months but everyone has displayed the same professionalism throughout that continues to impressme every day,” Etter said. “With patience, it will be made right. There’s going to be a few glitches, so please help us to help you. Track your leave and earnings statement closely and advise appropriate agencies with any questions orconcerns .”

He said he was especially impressed with the interpersonal support provided throughout as well and when the organization heard of those in need, everyone stepped up immediately.

Beyond personnel issues, he addressed his concerns about safety, stressing everyone’s role when it comes to mishap prevention.

“Our safety numbers are not where we want them to be,” he said. “The current trend is neither understandable nor acceptable. We need to address causation issues and keep safety in cross check.”

Some immediate-proximity hazards he mentioned were vehicle-based mishaps and the omnipresent bear population on Tyndall, who are especially active this time of year.

But current challenges aside, the general praised the organization for recent mission successes.

“When we’re not handling crises, we’re doing extremely well and our successes are adding up,” he said.

Among them, he counted the immaculate Air Force Forces support of the U.N. General Assembly and the Vibrant Response exercise at CampAtterbury, Indiana, plus outstanding support for the fifth busiest firefighting season since federal firefighting efforts began.

Additionally, aircraft with the Modular Aerial Fire Fighting System installed now have wi-fi capability in the cockpits. Combined with iPads in the crew compartment, thiscapabilitysignificantly enhances aircrew situational awareness during MAFFS missions.

Other aviation successes Etter praised included reduced military tracks of interest in the National Capitol Region — thanks to efforts between staffs of AFNORTH and the 601st Air and Space Operations Center– and the execution of more than 63,000 Operation Noble Eagle sorties since ONE’s 2001 inception.

He also noted Air Force Rescue Coordination Center efforts,whose2013tally so far is more than 140 saves. The general, reading an excerpt from a letter he received from one saved person’s mother, acknowledged AFRCC operations “don’t just touch one person, there are whole families involved.”

One more letter he read reflected yet another significant organizational achievement – receiving the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. The letter, sent by Gen. Michael Hostage, Air Combat Command Commander read:

“Congratulations to Headquarters First Air Force for its selection to receive the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award for the period of 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2013. It is an honor to have such dynamic professionals as members of the Air Combat Command team.
It is a privilege to recognize such excellence. Please relay my warmest congratulations to the Airmen of Headquarters First Air Force.”

Following these reflections,Etter focused on futureorganizationalactivities, namely resolvingany issues created by furlough and sequestration constraints.

“We’ve got a lot coming up in the future, between different exercises and catching up on training,” he said. “The pace of TDYs will temporarily increase as we endeavor to do that but it’s not anything that’s going to happen overnight.”

He added while TDYs will continue to be closely scrutinized those needed to make up for missed training will be done on a prioritized, as-needed basis.

“While we have to realize sequestration is still with us, the most important thing to remember is the ongoing strength, determination and professionalismeach of you bring to our mission every day,” Etter said. “You all continue to amaze and impress me. I can only look forward to more of the same.”

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