U.S. Air Force Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, presents a coin to Senior Airman Osvaldo Laracuente, 354th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment technician, during a base visit Aug. 22, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Carlisle presented coins to several of Eielson’s outstanding performers throughout his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
U.S. Air Force Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, and Maj. Justin Ramey, 18th Aggressor Squadron pilot, board an F-16 Fighting Falcon for a familiarization flight Aug. 24, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Carlisle went on the flight to witness first-hand the capabilities of 18th AGRS and the air space of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
An 18th Aggressor Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon carrying U.S. Air Force Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, prepares to take off for a familiarization flight Aug. 24, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Carlisle went on the flight to witness first-hand the capabilities of 18th AGRS and the air space of the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
U.S. Air Force Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, is briefed by Brig. Gen. Mark Kelly, 354th Fighter Wing commander, and Lt. Col. Frederick Mena, 354th Force Support Squadron commander, about the future plans of the Eielson City Center during a base visit Aug. 22, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The Eielson City Center will be a consolidated service facility for the base community due open in December 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark Kelly, 354th Fighter Wing commander, Chief Master Sgt. Jeffery Brown, 354th FW command chief, and their wives, Tanya Kelly and Mary Brown, salute Gen. “Hawk” Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, upon his arrival for a base visit Aug. 22, 2012, Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. This is Carlisle’s first visit to Eielson since taking command of Pacific Air Forces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jim Araos)
by Senior Airman Yash Rojas
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/17/2012 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- General "Hawk" Carlisle, Pacific Air Forces commander, visited Eielson Air Force Base as part of an Asia-Pacific tour following his recent assumption of command.
During his visit, Carlisle spent time with members of the Iceman team, making it clear he believes in what Eielson Airmen contribute each day to the mission - preparing, deploying and enabling aviation forces.
Since taking command in early August, he has expressed a strong desire to meet the men and women who make the mission happen here.
"What you do matters," he said. "There's not one job that is more important than any other job. Everything that we do ... everything that you do even when you look at your small scope [matters], your job is critical to the success of our nation and our military."
Carlisle visited several facilities throughout the base, including the 18th Aggressor Squadron, the 353rd Combat Training Squadron and the Eielson power plant.
In an Airman's Call at the base theater, he commended the Iceman Team, what he calls "a tremendous group of Airmen," for their hard work and for the challenges they will overcome in the future.
"Our primary job as Airmen is to win our nation's wars," said Carlisle. "In the very near future the shift will be to the Pacific."
With challenging times ahead, the PACAF commander expressed the need to embrace the future as critical and reminded Airmen that while the future is filled with obstacles, together there is much that can be accomplished.
Speaking about the importance of Alaska when referring to the latest military rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, Carlisle quoted Army General Billy Mitchell, the well-known military aviation pioneer, who once said, "I believe that in the future, whoever holds Alaska will hold the world. I think it is the most important strategic place in the world."
The rebalance of the Air Force to PACAF brings further focus and importance to phase zero training, said Carlisle. One example is the large-scale training exercise known as RED FLAG-Alaska, which provides an opportunity to bring premier aerial combat training to U.S. friends and allies.
"A critical part of [the PACAF mission] is getting [our friends and allies] better trained, increasing their capability, interoperability with us. That is really the heart of the mission for the 354th [Fighter Wing]."
Carlisle also had an F-16 Fighting Falcon orientation flight during his short visit to Eielson, where he expressed his excitement about flying with pilots from the 18th AGRS in a training mission with the Aggressors and the F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson."
He was impressed with the level of professionalism demonstrated by members of 18th AGRS, the sole fighter squadron stationed at Eielson whose job it is to train and educate the nation's multi-national partners through challenging scenarios designed to sharpen their combat skills by flying simulated combat sorties in a realistic threat environment. He also had an opportunity to experience a portion of the 67,000 square-miles that make up the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex where RF-A participants sharpen their modern air combat training skill.
The chance to see two great units utilize the range, and then to see how viable the range space can be during any of the major training exercises this season, is a testament to the men and women who put it all together, said Carlisle.
"I got to see the size of the [JPARC]," he said. "I think that's one of the things that make it so valuable. We have all that capability, the different terrain, but we also have a wide expanse of range that's hard to find in other parts of the world, certainly in the lower 48."
Carlisle said his tour of the region's bases demonstrates his commitment to the 45,000 Airmen who make the mission successful. He wants to know who to thank when showing his gratitude for a job well done, and taking the time to meet Airmen wherever he goes creates a stronger relationship with those under his care.
"I am humbled and honored to be a part of this organization," Carlisle said. "We are part of the greatest fighting force in the history of the world. We are the best that has ever been."
And while the future may not be certain, the PACAF commander ensured Airmen that the challenges they all face will not be faced alone.
"We are all in it together starting with me," he said. "And I'll be out there in front making sure we do this right."