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Mighty Eighth adapts, excels

  • Published
  • By Maj. Gen. Floyd Carpenter
  • Eighth Air Force commander
Mighty Eighth,

As we head into the second half of 2010 and prepare to celebrate our nation's independence, I've been amazed by the blistering pace of events that you've sustained, and I've been extremely impressed with the ability of the Mighty Eighth Team to adapt and excel during this time of great transition and change. Several significant accomplishments have been achieved in the past few months, and I'm consistently awed by the hard work and dedication put forth by our warriors in accomplishing our mission to safeguard America's interests through strategic deterrence and global combat power.

By taking a moment to reflect on our accomplishments, it is my hope that everyone in the Mighty Eighth understands how important their contributions are and how much they are truly appreciated. Our dual-role nuclear and conventional bomber mission is extremely demanding and bears great responsibility, which is why the seamless transition of Eighth Air Force from Air Combat Command to Air Force Global Strike Command was, and continues to be, such an important milestone in our ongoing effort to strengthen the nuclear enterprise.

Another significant accomplishment has been the outstanding effort taken by our Airmen and civilians to establish the newly activated 69th Bomb Squadron at Minot Air Force Base, N.D. Establishing a new B-52 squadron is no easy task, and the passing of the 69th's Initial Nuclear Surety Inspection earlier this year is a critically important milestone in ensuring that the squadron is fully capable to accomplish our mission as an integral part of Team Minot. It's great to have the Mighty Night Hawks up and running and part of Eighth Air Force!

The 509th Bomb Wing has just completed a highly successful rotation of the Continuous Bomber Presence. Despite some significant challenges during the deployment, the team performed beyond expectations and accomplished some significant training activity during their time on Guam. A seamless swap out with the team from the 5th BW is sure to lead to another successful rotation. Well done!

Despite an intense inspection and exercise schedule, the 2nd BW has been phenomenal in ensuring a smooth move for Headquarters Eighth Air Force from Barksdale AFB to the Cyber Innovation Center in Bossier City, La. This temporary relocation off base is a win-win situation for both Eighth Air Force and the local community. The ability for Eighth Air Force to lease office space in a safe, secure and hi-tech facility near the base has allowed the Mighty Eighth to quickly relocate without disruption to the mission. Our relocation will also enhance the mission of Air Force Global Strike Command by freeing up much needed office space on base for the arrival of new AFGSC personnel to Barksdale. Thank you 2nd BW for going the extra mile.

These examples are just a few of the accomplishments that the Mighty Eighth Team has achieved so far this year. They are also shining examples of how the proud and heroic legacy of 8th Air Force continues to live and thrive through your dedication, selfless service and pursuit of excellence. All of us must continually work to create and perfect enforceable standards and live by them. We cannot compromise.

As we move into the middle of summer, we continue to enjoy warm weather activities, including motorcycles on the road and boats in the water. In accordance with top Air Force leader direction, each organization took a pause earlier in the season to reflect on the importance of safety in everything we do, both on duty and off. I implore you to remember the lessons that were brought forth, stay vigilant, and continue to be good wingmen.

Equally important is to continuously focus on our suicide awareness program to ensure every Airman knows where to turn for help in tough times and how we can take care of our fellow wingmen. It's painful as your commander to learn of a tragedy in the Mighty Eighth family - especially a tragedy avoidable by using proper risk management, making smart decisions, or by having a wingman nullify a bad situation. Please take this to heart and help all of us protect the Mighty Eighth's greatest asset: our people and families.

As we continue to accomplish our dual role mission in demanding environments at home or deployed, it's critical that we never fall short of our responsibility to provide safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrence and global strike capability for our Air Force and our nation. Enjoy this Independence Day, and thank you for the outstanding work you perform each and every day to make it possible.