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CSAF Letter to Airmen

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses the audience after being sworn in as the 20th Air Force chief of staff during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Prior to his new position, Welsh was the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina Brownlow)

Gen. Mark A. Welsh III addresses the audience after being sworn in as the 20th Air Force chief of staff during a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Aug. 10, 2012. Prior to his new position, Welsh was the commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christina Brownlow)

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- Earlier today, I was sworn in as the 20th Chief of Staff of our Air Force. It was a pretty humbling experience. Since I haven't met most of you, I thought my first move as CSAF should be to say hi. You'll probably get tired of hearing me say that "every Airman has a story," but it's true, and I'm no different.

My story starts with family. My dad, who was the greatest patriot, officer, and leader I've ever known, taught me that no rank or title would ever be as important as the unit patch I wore. Today, I wear the Air Force patch, and my family has grown to 690,000 active, Guard, Reserve, and civilian Airmen, all serving as part of an unbeatable Joint team.

YOU are what makes our Air Force the best the world has ever known!

Thank you for your service, your sacrifice, your dedication and commitment. Most of all, thank you for the privilege of serving beside you and your families. Betty and I are so honored to represent you and will do everything in our power to do it in a way that makes you proud.

From Tooey Spaatz's drive and vision in 1947, to General Norty Schwartz's steady hand and thoughtful leadership over the past four years, our Air Force has benefited from strong Chiefs of Staff throughout its rich heritage. I wish I could tell you I bring the same IQ and talent level to the job as they did, but that would be a stretch. So I just promise you I'll do my very best, every day, every task...just like you do.

You need to know that I care about each of you, your mission, your training, your equipment, your professional development, your career, and your family. My job is to prove it to you.

I'll get back to you after I've had a chance to sit down with Secretary Donley and benefit from his wise counsel. I'll let you know what my focus areas will be and where I think we're headed. In the meantime, you take care of the "Fly, Fight, and Win" part...and I'll ensure that "Integrity, Service, and Excellence" aren't just buzz words I use in speeches.

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