U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Tyson Reams, 33rd Rescue Squadron flight engineer, is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal by U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 29, 2012. Reams distinguished himself by heroism while deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in 2010. Reams flew two mass casualty evacuation missions in support of a coalition operation in the Watapur Valley, Afghanistan. For more than nine hours, Reams provided accurate power calculations in high altitude landing zones along with a steadily increasing number of wounded troops. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins)
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Richard Joy, 33rd Rescue Squadron aerial gunner, is awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross medal by U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 29, 2012. While deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan in 2010, Joy performed a precision hover and hoist on extreme mountainous terrain under direct enemy fire. Without Joy's actions, many of the men on the mission would not have survived. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Malia Jenkins)
U.S. Air Force Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, and Master Sgt. Clinton Jaynes, Erwin Professional Military Education Center lead instructor, converse about the side panel of a U.S. Army Air Corps B-29 Superfortress, recreated by the 18th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Structural Maintenance Section on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 29, 2012. Carlisle visited the PME center as one of the stops on his orientation tour of the 18th Wing. The general took command of PACAF Aug. 3. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Clinton Jaynes, Erwin Professional Military Education Center lead instructor, explains the importance of the PME fitness room to Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 29, 2012. PACAF is responsible for Air Force activities spread over half the globe in a command that supports 45,000 Airmen serving principally in Japan, Korea, Hawaii, Alaska and Guam. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Borgert, 18th Force Support Squadron commander, briefs Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, about the Risner Fitness Center and the high demand for a new facility on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Oct. 29, 2012. The Risner was one of Carlisle’s many stops during his tour of the 18th Wing. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis)
by Senior Airman Maeson L. Elleman
18th Wing Public Affairs
10/31/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- During his first trip to Kadena Air Base Oct. 26-29, Gen. Herbert "Hawk" Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, visited with Airmen, toured facilities, conducted a commander's call to explain his priorities, and presented two Distinguished Flying Cross Medals with Valor.
"I am incredibly honored to be here; I was one of the Shoguns a while back, and I am so happy to be back here," said Carlisle. "The attitudes of the Airmen I've run into have been nothing short of spectacular. I am incredibly impressed with this entire wing, and I have seen nothing but great attitudes, great work ethic and great men and women doing the job day in and day out."
Along with the commander's call, the general revealed Kadena's performance during the two-week inspection held between Oct. 15 and Oct. 26.
"You're done with your inspection," the commander said, followed by an uprising of applause by those in attendance. "You guys passed everything with flying colors. The (inspection team) walked away thinking that this wing is the tip of the spear, and that's where they need to be.
"My hat's off to you," he continued. "(It was) a very high grade given, especially given the environment you guys have been in ... and the pace that you've done. Let me be the first to congratulate you on a job extremely well done."
During the call, the general also discussed the rebalance of U.S. military power to the Pacific, priorities as Airmen and the reason for the U.S. military presence in the region.
"We get up every morning and put this uniform on, because our job is to fight and win the nation's wars wherever and whenever we're asked," said the general who stressed readiness as his top priority. "It may be another (contingency). It may be our day-to-day operations maintaining readiness."
The general also enforced good ambassadorship for those serving in Japan, and discussed the curfew on American service members.
"Every time you walk outside this gate, every time you interact with anybody in Japan, you are a representative of the United States of America, and you are a representative of the United States Air Force," he said. "You have got to take that seriously. Each individual has a strategic impact on our alliance and how we interact with our hosts, friends and partners here in Japan."
Carlisle added that taking care of Airmen and their families is his other top priority because if Airmen and families are not taken care of, Airmen cannot focus on the mission.
While addressing the wing, Carlisle also extended his appreciation to those who wear the uniform.
"The one thing I want you to take away from this is a sincere and heart-felt 'thank you,'" the general said. "You don't hear that enough. I know the sacrifices you make. I know the hours that we ask of you, the deployments we ask of you and the heroism that you display. I know that your families sacrifice; I know that your kids don't always get to see you, the soccer matches you miss, the plays you don't get to participate in. And I've got to tell you, you don't hear it enough. Thank you. You're amazing men and women; your families are amazing. I and this entire country owe you a debt of gratitude. Thank you for what you do."