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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III recognizes Maria Bandouveres, executive assistant to the program executive officer for C3I and networks, during his all-call at the Aero Club hangar here Nov. 7, 2013. Bandouveres was recognized for the work during her career supporting nearly 20 commanders and PEOs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Rick Berry)
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Chief of staff highlights Hanscom Airmen, vital contributions to the fight

Posted 11/8/2013   Updated 11/12/2013 Email story   Print story


by Patty Welsh
66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

11/8/2013 - HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III spoke about people, using common sense, communication and caring during an all-call in the Aero Club hangar here Nov. 7.

He thanked the workforce for what they bring to the fight, and encouraged everyone to keep the mission of fighting and winning the nation's wars as their priority - and to do it with pride.

"I'm a big fan of pride in the workforce," said Welsh. "This particular base and these organizations represented here are really proud of what they do because they're really good at it."

Both at the call and in multiple sessions that followed, the chief of staff spoke about the importance and uniqueness of the work done at Hanscom.

"This is what makes (the Air Force) different," he said, referring to the communications, cyber, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and battle management capabilities provided by Hanscom program managers. "No one else can do what we do, and no one else in the world can do what you do."

The general added that people who excel pay attention to detail and are not afraid of new technologies and challenges.

"I'm really proud of you," he told the audience. "Never forget how important you are. Everyone in this room is critically important to what we do in the Air Force."

The general also shared his keys to success, including the main one: common sense. He said as resources get tighter and the government gets smaller, new and smarter ways to accomplish the mission need to be found. He challenged the audience to look at their jobs to see if there were items that could or should be eliminated.

"No one knows your job better than you," he said. "If it doesn't make sense to you it's probably not worth doing."

Another key he mentioned was communication. He said the Air Force has traditionally not been good at getting information from his level down to the workforce.

"People need to hear the whys and understand the reasons decisions are being made," he said.

His office is trying new ways to communicate, including Facebook and Twitter. "Follow me," Welsh urged the workforce.

Having been in his position for just over a year now, Welsh spoke about how he feels the Air Force is doing and what areas the service needs to focus on moving forward. In the operational arena, he thinks the Air Force is doing very well, although the users constantly want more. With regard to science and technology and research and development, Welsh said that although the Air Force is doing really well, there's not enough funding.

"We're developing things that we're using," he said. "I know it sounds strange but it's really important and doesn't always happen. We're a technology-based organization."

The third key Welsh mentioned was caring. He said people need to think about the Air Force's task of "to fight and win" and care about that job every day, but they also need to think about their co-workers.

"We get to do this job with the best people on earth," he said. "Every Airman has a story, and we need to learn those stories."

In fact, Welsh honored one of Hanscom's own during the all-call. Maria Bandouveres, executive assistant to the program executive officer for C3I and networks, was recognized for the work during her career supporting nearly 20 commanders and PEOs.

"She's one of those people who is all-knowing and calm and steady - the rock," the general said. "She's the person you can go to for help, and people want to work with her."

At the end of the all-call during the question-and-answer period, Welsh spoke about the Air Force's future.

The Air Force needs to be able to handle a full-spectrum fight against a well-trained, well-equipped force, Welsh said, adding that the technology worked on at Hanscom will support that.

"We've got to be smaller but still capable, credible and viable," he said.

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