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Conference room dedicated to former AF Chief of Staff

  • Published
  • By Carla Pampe
  • Air Force Global Strike Command
Air Force Global Strike Command formally dedicated its newly-renovated conference room in the command's headquarters in honor of Cold War warrior and former Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Larry Welch during a ceremony here Aug. 27.

A long-time advocate of nuclear deterrence, Welch led the Defense Science Board advisory panel that reviewed U.S. Department of Defense procedures and policies for handling nuclear weapons in 2007, and has promoted the nuclear deterrence mission throughout both his Air Force and civilian careers.

"General Welch certainly represents the kind of legacy we want to leave all our Airmen," Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, AFGSC commander, said during his remarks. "He has been consistent in his advocacy for Airmen who execute the nuclear deterrence mission."

Welch enlisted in the Kansas National Guard in 1951, serving with the 161st Armored Field Artillery until he enlisted in the Air Force. He entered the aviation cadet program in 1953, earning his pilots wings and a commission as a second lieutenant.

During his Air Force career, Welch flew combat missions in F-4Cs over North and South Vietnam and Laos in the late 1960s, commanded units in Tactical Air Command, served as an inspector general, and served as the Commander in Chief, Strategic Air Command. He became the Air Force Chief of Staff in 1986, and retired in 1990 after nearly 40 years of service.

"I am deeply honored to be associated with this command and its mission," Welch said at the dedication ceremony.

He said that while some say that nuclear weapons are relics of the Cold War that have never been used and should be eliminated, "I would argue that we have used the nuclear forces every second of every day for 50 years."

Welch, who was visiting Barksdale Air Force Base with members of the Defense Science Board, told the audience that as an aviation cadet, he was involved in some of the research being done on the B-52, which made its first flight in 1952.

"I consider myself in some respects as having been associated with [the nuclear deterrence] mission for more than 60 years," he said. "You can be assured that so long as I can stand, I will support this mission."