Story by A1C Cassandra Whitman on 02/16/2017Gen. Terrence O'Shaughnessy, the Pacific Air Forces commander, and his command team, made their initial visit to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Feb. 8-9.
During his visit, Gen. O'Shaughnessy learned about the 354th Fighter Wing mission, with emphasis on the future beddown of two squadrons of F-35A Lightning IIs. Additionally, he toured Eielson's Central Heat and Power Plant and visited with and thanked Airmen around the base. Beyond the gates of Eielson, O'Shaughnessy took time to visit Fort Greely and Clear Air Force Station.
At a base-wide All Call, O'Shaughnessy shared his priorities for PACAF and how Eielson Airmen contribute to the command's warfighting mission.
"One of my top priorities is to maintain the capability and capacity to win, not only today, but tomorrow," said O'Shaughnessy. "Eielson offers the ability to train our operational force at a high level with our professional aggressor team, which ensures our Airmen are ready to fight at a moment's notice."
O'Shaughnessy learned what makes Eielson unique including the premiere training Alaska offers the Air Force.
"Eielson brings the ability to train at a level that is unmatched anywhere else in the world," said O'Shaughnessy. "Not only do we have the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex that is absolutely amazing and provides the aircrew unique training, but the F-22s at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson add a fifth generation element to provide a venue that is matchless for our joint partners and allies."
With the arrival of the F-35s fast approaching, O'Shaughnessy offered insight on how it will contribute to the future mission at Eielson.
"The first thing is to get excited," said O'Shaughnessy. "The arrival of the F-35 is an amazing opportunity. It's an evolution in combat power coming to the Indo-Asia-Pacific region over and above what we already have, and it's the best the United States has to offer."
The general offered insight to Airmen on how his previous assignments helped prepare him to be the commander of PACAF.
"I've been very fortunate with the opportunities the Air Force has afforded me in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," said O'Shaughnessy. "I've had multiple assignments in this region so I have a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities PACAF Airmen are faced with. It helps me appreciate the tough conditions they have to work in."
Chief Master Sgt. Anthony Johnson, the PACAF command chief, spoke with members of Eielson's enlisted force to gain a better understanding of the unique challenges Airmen in The Last Frontier encounter in the base's harsh conditions.
"I think readiness and development are very important," said Johnson. "These goals fall succinctly in line with the commander's priorities for us as Airmen in this theater."
The command chief also provided his perspective on enlisted development and leadership.
"I like to see the empowerment of our NCOs to be able to make pertinent decisions while doing the things they are expected to do with commander's intent," said the chief. "For me, empowerment goes a long way to mission success and we should be able to tap and leverage that to make sure we are always ready to meet the needs and demands of this theater."
Before departing, the general and chief expressed their gratitude to the Icemen Team for their professionalism and willingness to complete the mission.
"I just want to thank Eielson's Icemen," said O'Shaughnessy. "Chief and I are incredibly impressed. You work in a challenging environment and not only survive, but thrive."