COMPACAF extends holiday greetings to PACAF family

  • Published
  • By Gen. Gary L. North
  • Pacific Air Forces commander
As the holiday season approaches and we start to think about entering into 2011, I offer my heartfelt "thank you" to our entire Pacific Air Forces team and each of our family members. Our continued service in this region and in our deployments throughout the world is vitally important to our nation - a fact underscored by the many significant milestones you allowed your command to achieve this year.

In July, we welcomed Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam's first two F-22 aircraft. As PACAF's second location where F-22s are based, the Hawaii Air National Guard and Active Duty F-22 squadrons continue to build our 5th generation capability in the region. The capabilities of PACAF's Airmen, coupled with the advanced next-generation technology of the F-22, alongside our existing 4th generation inventory represent an exponential leap in tactical and operational warfighting capabilities for U.S. forces in the Pacific.

In September, we welcomed the first RQ-4 Global Hawk, our USAF's high altitude, long endurance remotely piloted aircraft, to Andersen AFB, Guam. This event marks an exceptional move toward enhanced information sharing, regional interoperability and an opportunity to facilitate addressing trans-regional issues, such as humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, piracy and terrorism, along with other key mission requirements.

Although the basing of these two advanced platforms demonstrates our nation's continued commitment to the security and stability of the Pacific, the best indicator of that commitment remains the presence of more than 42,000 Airmen who work daily with our Joint and Coalition partners across our Pacific expanse that spans half the globe. When tensions flare on the Korean peninsula - as they have several times during this year - you're there and ready to respond. When disaster strikes - as it did in Haiti - you're prepared to employ airpower to provide vital relief. In addition, this year you provided routine humanitarian assistance to those in need through events like Pacific Angel in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam and the Philippines. And every day, you honorably represent our nation and our Air Force across the region and the world---through exercises, deployed combat operations and missions across the Pacific. We are all very proud of your efforts in 2010!

As you gather with your families for the holidays, please keep in mind the more than 2,000 PACAF Airmen who are celebrating the holiday season in places far from the U.S. and the Pacific bases we call home. Be wingmen for their families, who await their return. To those serving in harm's way, I extend my deepest appreciation and wishes for your successful deployment and for a safe and smooth return to your Pacific base.

The holiday season can be a welcome change of pace and a chance to enjoy life with friends and family. It can also be a difficult time for those dealing with personal issues. Be alert to those who might need a helping hand from you, a key part of their extended Air Force family. Listen carefully to those around you, and make sure your wingman or someone in their family is not trying to "fly solo" with a heavy burden.

Teamwork was responsible for our successes in 2010 and will ensure we're ready for the challenges ahead in 2011. Chief Master Sgt. Brooke McLean and I, along with our entire command leadership team throughout the Pacific, are proud to lead our team of professional Airmen, who consistently demonstrate service before self, who put integrity first, and who are committed to excellence in all they do. We wish you the very best for the holidays and a happy new year. Pacific Air Forces Airmen ... Aim High ... Fly, Fight and Win!