3rd Air Force commander, command chief visit Liberty Wing
During a recent base visit, Lt. Gen. Phil Breedlove, 3rd Air Force commander, coins Capt. Joseph Andresky, 56th Rescue Squadron, and other members of his unit Jan. 8 at RAF Lakenheath, England, for a job well done during a rescue at sea in early December. The 56th RQS flew some 300 miles off the coast of Ireland to rescue a Burmese sailor nearly fatally injured on a cargo vessel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Perry Aston)
by Airman 1st Class Torri K. Larson
48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/21/2009 - ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- Lt. Gen. Phil Breedlove, 3rd Air Force commander; Maj. Gen. Jack Egginton, 3rd Air Force vice commander; and Chief Master Sgt. Jack Johnson, 3rd Air Force command chief, paid the Airmen of the Liberty Wing a visit here Jan. 8.
They had breakfast with Airmen from the wing, spoke with chiefs and company grade officers and received tours and briefings showcasing the 48th Fighter Wing. They discussed issues such as manpower, future of aircraft and the future of the Liberty Wing.
General Breedlove said he was impressed with the men and women he spoke with and the time they put into the questions they had for him.
"None of them complained about not being able to do the mission," he said. "They are very proud and it is very clear they are getting the mission done." He said many people wondered if the Air Force's planned manpower increase would help the 48th Fighter Wing accomplish its mission more efficiently.
General Breedlove stressed that each Liberty Airman is important and a valued asset in 3rd Air Force's current operations. He said it's important for senior leadership to make sure Airmen understand what the big picture is and how they fit into it.
"Everyone has a critical part in this business," General Breedlove said. He spoke of the most recent air policing mission and the deployment package which just left for Southwest Asia with more than 300 Airmen.
"You all provide two things that only Lakenheath does," he said. "One of them is the air superiority capability and the other is the F-15 Strike Eagle precision weapon capability for the folks down range."
He said the Liberty Wing has a large portion of the job when it comes to the Global War on Terror with our joint support personnel. He commended Liberty Airmen on their commitment to the tasks at hand and noted that the wing is integral to 3rd Air Force and U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
"We are the operational arm of USAFE, and our motto is 'Day or Night We Bring the Fight,'" he said. "That's what you guys are; you're the fight that we bring."
General Breedlove said we are doing real missions every day which are in support of the GWOT and also in support of European and NATO partners.
"As a part of the joint team, our Airmen are out supporting the Army in the war and we support all our brother and sister services throughout Europe with our transportation services, medical services and other services," the general said.
General Breedlove said in addition to fighting the war on terror, the Liberty Wing is tasked to perform several joint missions including air policing and rescue missions to help our NATO partners and keep positive relations with our allies.
"No nation is an island and can stand alone," he said. "We are a part of many bilateral and multilateral relationships, the longest-standing and most successful of which is NATO."
He said global and national security is tied to the many different relationships we have with our NATO partners and the mutual support we gain from each other.
"We will never fight a war alone again," he said. He explained it will always be some sort of a coalition.
General Breedlove said he enjoyed his visit to the Liberty Wing and was impressed with the caliber of Airmen with whom he came into contact.
"I want the Airmen of the Liberty Wing to know how proud I am of them and how well they support 3rd Air Force, USAFE and the United States Air Force," he said. "I want them to know how proud I am of how they represent the United States Air Force here in the United Kingdom. They, like others around the world, are the best that our nation has to offer. We have the brightest, most amazing troops and I'm so happy that they're here."