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COMUSAFE visits the 435th AGOW
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany - Chief Master Sgt. David Williamson, U.S. Air Forces in Europe command chief, addresses members of the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing, Jan. 28, 2011. Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, and Chief Williamson spent the day visiting the facilities of the 435th AGOW. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Desiree Esposito)
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USAFE commander, command chief visit 435th AGOW

Posted 2/2/2011   Updated 2/2/2011 Email story   Print story


by Senior Airman Scott Saldukas
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

2/2/2011 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Williamson, USAFE command chief, visited the Airmen of the 435th Air Ground Operations Wing Jan. 28, to see firsthand the different capabilities the unit brings to the fight.

The visit gave General Welsh and Chief Williamson the opportunity to hear how the Airmen of the AGOW work to support contingency operations and build strong bonds while in Europe. This marked the first official visit since the general assumed command Dec. 13.

"Chief Williamson and I had a chance to visit most of the AGOW today, and it has been a real pleasure," General Welsh said to the Airmen during an "all-call." "You guys do creative and innovative things every day, just to get your work done. We've been looking at them all day long."

After a morning mission brief from Col. John Shapland, 435th AGOW commander, the general boarded a UH-60 Black Hawk and began his day with a tour of the 4th Air Support Operations Group at Wiesbaden Army Air Field.

The 4th ASOG works with Army units across Germany and Italy and is spread out over 14 locations with 11 squadrons. General Welsh had the opportunity to speak with Airmen at Wiesbaden and see some of the things they deal with on a day-to-day basis.

"I am very proud to show off the unique and specialized capabilities inherent in the 435th AGOW," Colonel Shapland said. "Even though the wing is fairly new, the squadrons' capabilities span up to 60 years with providing combat capability, expeditionary Airmen, and theater-wide combat support and training within USAFE."

The next stop for the general was the 435th Contingency Response Group. The group is USAFE's only "Open the Base" force, providing expeditionary airfield operations, combat support and training, flyaway security, construction and aircraft arresting system support.

"General Welsh's visit gave us the opportunity to show him the USAFE capability to secure and open the base, wire the base, and integrate joint fires and battlefield weather in joint and combined warfare," Colonel Shapland said. "It was especially poignant to showcase the pride and dedication to mission accomplishment that the mighty Thunderbolt Airmen of the 435th AGOW show every day, whether here in garrison, or on deployment in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia or Iraq."

From the CRG, General Welsh toured the 435th Air and Space Communications Group where he was able to view prepackaged deployable communication equipment ready to support contingency operations at a moment's notice.

The immersion tour of the wing came to an end with an "all-call" where General Welsh and Chief Williamson talked to Airmen on their leadership expectations and expressed their excitement to work alongside a new group of Airmen.

"You're on the cutting edge of the U.S. military. You're shaping the way we do business; you're not waiting for somebody to shape it for you," General Welsh said. "Thank you for doing that - you're showing us all the way."

After addressing the AGOW, the general handed the microphone to his command chief.

"Thank you for what you do," Chief Williamson said. "I couldn't be more proud to serve as your command chief and represent you to the rest of the U.S. Air Force. I am proud to be your wingman and look forward to serving with you over the next few years in this great command."

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