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CSAF, CMSAF spend Christmas with Airmen in Afghanistan

Air Force Col. Joseph Miller, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander, greets an aircraft carrying Air Force Chief of Staff David L. Goldfein and the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright during a recent visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Airmen were given the opportunity to discuss changes occurring in the Air Force with leadership during the visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Col. Joseph Miller, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing vice commander, greets an aircraft carrying Air Force Chief of Staff David L. Goldfein and the Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright during a recent visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Airmen were given the opportunity to discuss changes occurring in the Air Force with leadership during the visit. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright talk with an Airman at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Goldfein and Wright met several Airmen during the visit to discuss their contributions to the mission and answer their questions about changes in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright talk with an Airman at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Goldfein and Wright met several Airmen during the visit to discuss their contributions to the mission and answer their questions about changes in the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein stands for a photo with Airmen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited Airmen throughout U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility to offer guidance, thanks, and listen to Airmen’s stories. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein stands for a photo with Airmen at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited Airmen throughout U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility to offer guidance, thanks, and listen to Airmen’s stories. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein listens to Capt. Zachary Tolbert, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron pilot, talk about the C-130J Super Hercules mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited Airmen throughout U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility to offer guidance and thank them for their contributions to the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein listens to Capt. Zachary Tolbert, 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron pilot, talk about the C-130J Super Hercules mission at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited Airmen throughout U.S. Central Command’s area of responsibility to offer guidance and thank them for their contributions to the mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright greets Staff Sgt. Colin Selch, 774 Expeditionary Airlift Squadron loadmaster, during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. As the highest-ranking enlisted member in the Air Force, Wright provides direction for the enlisted force and represents their interests to the American public and those in all levels of government. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright greets Staff Sgt. Colin Selch, 774 Expeditionary Airlift Squadron loadmaster, during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. As the highest-ranking enlisted member in the Air Force, Wright provides direction for the enlisted force and represents their interests to the American public and those in all levels of government. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright talks with Master Sgt. Steven Nowicki, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright thanked deployed Airmen for their contributions to the fight, especially during the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright talks with Master Sgt. Steven Nowicki, 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent, during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright thanked deployed Airmen for their contributions to the fight, especially during the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright gets a hands-on demonstration of a counter-unmanned aircraft system known as a 'Drone Defender' during a visit with the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein spoke about the “Year of the Defender” and some changes security forces Airmen will see during training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright gets a hands-on demonstration of a counter-unmanned aircraft system known as a 'Drone Defender' during a visit with the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein spoke about the “Year of the Defender” and some changes security forces Airmen will see during training exercises. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright discusses the F-16 Fighting Falcon engine with a 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airman during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright spent much of the day touring facilities and gaining insight into the base’s current mission sets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright discusses the F-16 Fighting Falcon engine with a 455th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airman during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright spent much of the day touring facilities and gaining insight into the base’s current mission sets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visited with Airmen from the 455th Civil Engineer Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. During the visit Goldfein learned about the work Airmen did to repaint airfield markings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visited with Airmen from the 455th Civil Engineer Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. During the visit Goldfein learned about the work Airmen did to repaint airfield markings. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visits with Airmen from the 83rd Rescue Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. During the visit to the squadron he also met with Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew and maintainers who regularly conduct joint training and operations with 83rd RQS rescue personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)
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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein visits with Airmen from the 83rd Rescue Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. During the visit to the squadron he also met with Army National Guard CH-47 Chinook helicopter aircrew and maintainers who regularly conduct joint training and operations with 83rd RQS rescue personnel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Rito Smith)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright poses for a photo with an Airman during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright thanked deployed Airmen for their service and sacrifices, especially during the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)
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Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright poses for a photo with an Airman during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright thanked deployed Airmen for their service and sacrifices, especially during the holiday season. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright leads Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron chant during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright responded to a variety of questions to include changes to the enlisted assignments system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)
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Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright leads Airmen in the 455th Expeditionary Communications Squadron chant during a visit to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Wright responded to a variety of questions to include changes to the enlisted assignments system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, answers a question during a 455th Air Expeditionary Wing “all call” at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Guastella traveled to Afghanistan with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, who discussed recent and upcoming changes in the Air Force to empower Airmen to be more resilient and effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)
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Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, answers a question during a 455th Air Expeditionary Wing “all call” at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, Dec. 25, 2018. Guastella traveled to Afghanistan with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright, who discussed recent and upcoming changes in the Air Force to empower Airmen to be more resilient and effective. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kaylee Dubois)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan --

Two Air Force senior leaders traveled thousands of miles and through several time zones to visit deployed Airmen in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility during the holidays.  

 

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright visited 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Airmen at Bagram Dec. 25 to thank them for their dedication, service and sacrifices.  

 

“Our message is pretty simple,” Goldfein said. “We’re here to look you in the eye and say thank you for what you’re doing here--serving in uniform when your nation needs you.”

 

“We know how challenging it is being deployed during the holidays,” Wright added. “We are absolutely honored to be here.”

 

During the visit, Goldfein and Wright met with Airmen of various ranks and career fields across the wing to discuss their contributions to the mission and hear how Air Force leadership can better support them.

 

“We have a huge responsibility to take care of each and every one of you,” Wright told Airmen. “But I ask to make it a shared responsibility—take care of each other, and make sure you take care of yourselves.”

 

The visit began with a tour of the Craig Joint Theater Hospital, the most capable Role III trauma hospital in Afghanistan, staffed by the 455th Expeditionary Medical Group. Wright and Goldfein then visited Airmen from the 774th Expeditionary Airlift Squadron and 455th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, where the Airmen discussed the squadrons’ close partnership in saving lives across the region. 

 

Next, the leaders visited the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron, an important stop in recognizing those Airmen that embody the “Year of the Defender.” Goldfein and Wright received hands-on demonstrations with security forces equipment and held a mini all call there for squadron Airmen.

 

“What you do here every single day is incredibly important,” Goldfein said. “You’re responsible for defending our most important assets, and you do it better than anyone else. We are the best on the planet at integrated base defense.”

 

Master Sgt. Steven Nowicki, 455th ESFS operations superintendent, said he and his fellow defenders were honored to host Goldfein and Wright on Christmas Day.

 

“They have done so much for the Air Force and security forces, so it was very exciting for all of us to hear these two charismatic leaders speak about the Year of the Defender,” Nowicki said. It was also a great opportunity for our defenders to thank them for their leadership and support year round.”

 

Nowicki said security forces Airmen are proud of their rich history serving as the Air Force’s first line of defense, and he appreciated the CSAF and CMSAF sharing in that pride.  

 

“There is no better place to hear our senior leaders speak about these initiatives than at Bagram Airfield, and no better time than the Year of the Defender,” Nowicki added. “Defenders here and around the Air Force are excited for the upcoming year.”

 

The visit continued at the 83rd Rescue Squadron, which consists of pararescuemen, combat rescue officers and survival, evasion, resistance and escape specialists who work side-by-side with Army National Guard C-47 Chinook helicopter crews. The Soldiers and Airmen showcased their equipment and discussed the importance of maintaining their strong joint partnership.

 

The leaders learned more about the unique mission contributions of multiple squadrons including the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron, the 455th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron and the 455th Expeditionary Communication Squadron.

 

The visit ended with an all call and question and answer session that allowed Airmen to get clarification on specific policies, changes, and the future of the Air Force. Wright and Goldfein expressed their desire to hear real concerns and emphasized their dedication to addressing them.

 

“We like to do this because we get ground truth,” Wright said. “You give us feedback, you tell us what to fix, we go back to D.C. and we get things done.”

 

While they consider all comments and suggestions, Wright reminded Airmen that change takes time and asked them to personally keep working toward making the Air Force better for all members.

 

“This is a fantastic time to be in the United States Air Force,” he added. “If you want to get things done, now is the time.”

 

The questions ranged from uniform standards to physical fitness, enlisted promotions, resources and more. After all questions were answered, Goldfein and Wright reiterated their gratitude for each Airman and the importance of their roles in national security.

 

“Evil exists in the world, and someone’s got to stand between the wolf and the sheep,” Goldfein said. “That’s you and me. Thank you for doing our nation’s business and making those sacrifices. There’s never been a more important time to do it.”