Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ACC Commander Visits Davis-Monthan

Air Combat Command Commander, Gen. William Fraser III, greets Capt. Kevin Koren, 355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron, and other Airmen on the flight line during his tour of Davis-Monthan AFB February 23, 2010. During his tour, General Fraser visited the 355th Operations Group, the 55th Electronic Combat Group, the 563d Rescue Group, the dining facility, the fitness center and spoke to D-M Airmen at an all call at the base theater. Note: Visible in the background at right is A-10 238. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Alesia Goosic) Hi-res

by Capt. Stacie N. Shafran
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

3/3/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Gen. William M. Fraser III, commander of Air Combat Command, visited Davis-Monthan Feb. 23 and 24 to learn more about the base's robust mission and thank the Airmen, civilians, and family members for their service.

With Davis-Monthan's Airmen continuously deployed around the world, to include supporting relief efforts in Haiti, General Fraser commended the D-M personnel for what they are doing to fight today's fight.

With the 354th Fighter Squadron's recent return from a six-month deployment to southern Afghanistan, General Fraser explained that the 355th Fighter Wing's mission here is critical to the success of overseas contingency operations.

"It was obvious what was accomplished during this last deployment. The troops on the ground really rely upon close air support -- and that's an integral part of what the A-10s and the 355th Fighter Wing bring to the fight," said General Fraser.

The A-10C Thunderbolt II squadron was the first U.S. Air Force fighter unit based in southern Afghanistan, a move that saved the lives of countless ground forces thanks to the faster reaction time provided by the U.S. Air Force. The squadron flew more than 10,000 flight hours and 2,500 sorties during its landmark deployment.

The 355th is also responsible for preparing pilots to become A-10 pilots, a mission the general lauded.

"One of the things I was amazed to see was the 355th Fighter Wing's balance of the formal training unit and operation. They've got a huge undertaking in training up new members in the A-10 mission," he said. "It's a big task for our entire Air Force because no sooner are they graduating from the formal training unit, achieving mission ready status and then deploying forward to the fight. The close air support they provide is something that's really valued by those on the ground."

While the general toured the base and spoke with Airmen, his wife, Bev, also visited several facilities, including the Airman and Family Readiness Center and the Sonoran Science Academy, which was the first charter school to open on an Air Force base.

General Fraser explained that being in command is a team effort with his wife and that they share what they learned with each other during each base they visit, especially when it relates to Air Force families.

"We're making sure that we're doing everything we can for our family members, especially in this year of the Air Force family," said General Fraser. "I received some tremendous feedback from my wife. She was very impressed with many of the activities. We learn something at each location and we want to ensure the best practices we saw at D-M are propagated across ACC."

The general also had an opportunity to tour Davis-Monthan's energy-efficient privatized base housing. Once construction is complete on ground and rooftop solar array panels, Davis-Monthan will be home to the largest solar-powered community in the continental U.S.

"The Air Force is doing everything we can to be energy efficient," said General Fraser. "I was impressed with the tremendous energy initiatives taking place in the housing area here at D-M. It's something I'd like to see if we can expand it to other bases."

Although the general has visited Davis-Monthan previously in his career, this trip presented him with his first opportunity see a bit of the "Old Pueblo". He had dinner at the University of Arizona in Tucson with members of the DM-50, a group of local business and civic leaders who support base initiatives, to learn more about their thoughts and concerns.

"It's important that we also acknowledge the tremendous community support that exists here," said General Fraser.

Even with the support of the off-base community and that of senior Air Force leaders, General Fraser emphasized at his commander's call Feb. 23 at the base theater that Airmen must continue to look out for each other and take care of the Air Force family. "We must truly live the wingman concept," he said. "Each and every one of you is why our Air Force is the greatest in the world. We cannot do this without every one of you as a member of our ACC team."


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