By Staff Sgt. Carissa Lee, Public Affairs
/ Published May 11, 2007
GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
"You can't win the Daytona 500 in a '57 Chevy," quipped Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. T. Michael Moseley as he talked about the Air Force's fleet of aging fighter, bomber and tanker aircraft to an audience of more than 1,000 Airmen and civilians during his visit to Goodfellow April 20. With some of the planes in our inventory nearing 50 years of age, the general said he feels replacing the fleet should be one of our top priorities.
Gen. Moseley also spoke on other topics of interest, ranging from the Air Force's participation in the Global War on Terror to budget cutbacks and the new Air Force uniforms. The general acknowledged that today's Airmen are fighting a different fight than has ever been fought before.
"Deployments are expected now," he said. "Especially for those Airmen who have raised their hand since 9/11, there should be no surprises out there. It's a given - you will go somewhere in support of the Global War on Terror."
"We are an Air Force at war," Gen. Moseley continued, "a country at war and an American military at war." The general added that Airmen are not just supporting the Global War on Terror, they are in the war. His speech was peppered with phrases like "war-fighting ethos" and "direct kinetic kills."
"We've had media talking about 'land component activities'," the general said, then reminded the audience that when it comes to fighting terrorists, "the air component is killing more people."
With the knowledge that Goodfellow is an intelligence training base, Gen. Moseley made it a point to address the intelligence students and instructors. The general said the Air Force's job is to see everything on the surface of the earth, be able to command and control it and then be able to assess the effects.
"There are no barriers," he said, "no shorelines, no mountains - those things don't bother us because we fly." Intelligence, the general continued, is crucial in every point in that chain. The general said an intelligence Airman immediately sees a problem across operational, tactical and strategic levels, and this provides a wealth of information for the combatant commanders. Gen. Moseley challenged the next generation of intelligence Airmen, many of whom were in the audience, to go one step further.
"I want to know what you don't know," the general said, "because that's where the enemy lives."
Gen. Moseley was asked about the future of in-lieu-of taskings, where Airmen deploy to fill Army taskings "in lieu of" Soldiers. The general said he had no issues working with the Army, but the Air Force cannot afford to continue to do things that aren't in our specialties. With the Air Force giving up 40,000 people, Gen. Moseley said, there is "zero opportunity for in-lieu-of taskings."
In addition to discussing deployments, Gen. Moseley spent a few minutes on what Airmen will wear when they get to their destination. According to the general, the new Airman Battle Uniforms are being distributed to those Air Force Specialty Codes which operate "outside the wire," such as Explosive Ordinance Disposal and Security Forces. The rest of the force should see the new ABUs in the field within the next year or two, he added.
On the home front, the new service dress uniform is still a work in progress, Gen. Moseley said.
"I'm trying to make sure what gets put out to all of you is what you really want," the general said. "That takes time to get the feedback and design different styles, but we will make sure that the new dress uniform is one that makes Airmen feel proud when standing next to their brothers and sisters of the other branches of the military."
Cutbacks are a fact in today's Air Force, and one that everyone is going to feel in the next year or so, according to the general.
"We've gotten through the initial, painful part of the downsizing," Gen. Moseley said, "but we still have a ways to go to get to the 'magic number' of 316,000." Doing more with less is a reality that is sometimes hard to swallow, he added, but it is necessary to free up the money for improved and newer hardware and war-fighting equipment.
The general spent the better part of three days in San Angelo, where he was invited to be this year's guest speaker at the San Angelo Aggie Muster. Gen. Moseley is a Texas native and a 1971 Texas A&M graduate, and was inducted into the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Hall of Honor in 2005.
Aggie Muster is an annual, traditional ceremony held each year by graduates of Texas A&M to honor alumni who have fallen since the previous year's remembrance ceremony. According to the Texas A&M website, "Muster is a time to look to the past, present and future...not only to grieve but to reflect and to celebrate the lives that connect us to one another."
Looking to the past, present and future might well describe the contents of Gen. Moseley's speeches at Goodfellow. From the war-fighting ethos of the Doolittle Raiders to the challenges facing the Air Force in the Global War on Terror, Gen. Moseley finished with a look toward the future.
"We will be in this global war on terror for a long time," the general said. "Our job is to defend our country in air, space and cyberspace. Our job is to be out there on the edge of civilization with planes and missiles," he added. "Our job is to fly, fight and win."
(Airman 1st Class Stephen Musal contributed to this story.)