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SecAF visits 45th Space Wing

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks to military and civilian leaders and award nominees during lunch at the Riverside Dining Facility at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013 In addition to having lunch with wing personnel, Donley also toured various locations around the base and held an “Airman’s call” to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks to military and civilian leaders and award nominees during lunch at the Riverside Dining Facility at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013 In addition to having lunch with wing personnel, Donley also toured various locations around the base and held an “Airman’s call” to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley shakes hands with Janet Kennedy at the 45th Medical Groups satellite pharmacy as part of his visit to the Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013. Pharmacy technicians, volunteers and Airmen process over 439,000 prescriptions annually for 53,000 DoD beneficiaries in the area. The pharmacy is one of five in the Air Force with a state-of-the-art Robotic Dispensing System, with the capability of processing over 250 prescriptions an hour.  With this capability, the pharmacy is able to offset 40 percent of it manual workload.  (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley shakes hands with Janet Kennedy at the 45th Medical Groups satellite pharmacy as part of his visit to the Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013. Pharmacy technicians, volunteers and Airmen process over 439,000 prescriptions annually for 53,000 DoD beneficiaries in the area. The pharmacy is one of five in the Air Force with a state-of-the-art Robotic Dispensing System, with the capability of processing over 250 prescriptions an hour. With this capability, the pharmacy is able to offset 40 percent of it manual workload. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley (left) receives a briefing from Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander, (far right) during his tour of the wing Feb. 21. In addition to meeting with wing leadership, Donley had lunch with wing award winners, toured various locations around the base and held an “Airman’s call” to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley (left) receives a briefing from Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 45th Space Wing commander, (far right) during his tour of the wing Feb. 21. In addition to meeting with wing leadership, Donley had lunch with wing award winners, toured various locations around the base and held an “Airman’s call” to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks with 45th Security Forces Squadron Airmen during their guard mount Feb. 21 as part of his visit to the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla.  Donley also received a tour of the newly renovated Combat Arms Training Facility, where Airmen were completing 9mm pistol qualification training.  In addition to meeting with Airmen around the base, Donley had lunch with wing award winners, met with wing leadership and held an “Airman’s call” to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks with 45th Security Forces Squadron Airmen during their guard mount Feb. 21 as part of his visit to the 45th Space Wing, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. Donley also received a tour of the newly renovated Combat Arms Training Facility, where Airmen were completing 9mm pistol qualification training. In addition to meeting with Airmen around the base, Donley had lunch with wing award winners, met with wing leadership and held an “Airman’s call” to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

First Lt. Kurtis Schubeck from the  45th Weather Squadron, poses a question to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley during an “Airman’s call” at the base Feb. 21, 2013. During his remarks, Donley thanked military and civilian Airmen and their families for their continued service and support and discussed the potential impacts to sequestration. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

First Lt. Kurtis Schubeck from the 45th Weather Squadron, poses a question to Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley during an “Airman’s call” at the base Feb. 21, 2013. During his remarks, Donley thanked military and civilian Airmen and their families for their continued service and support and discussed the potential impacts to sequestration. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks during an “Airman’s Call” at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013. "Bottom line up front:  Keep doing what you are doing.  Stay focused on your mission," he said. "It takes a nation to produce an Air Force, and it is my great honor to serve with you." The secretary visited the base as part of his weeklong visit to Florida to participate in senior leader meetings at MacDill Air Force Base and the Air Force Association’s Annual Air Warfare Symposium in nearby Orlando. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley speaks during an “Airman’s Call” at Patrick Air Force Base, Fla., Feb. 21, 2013. "Bottom line up front: Keep doing what you are doing. Stay focused on your mission," he said. "It takes a nation to produce an Air Force, and it is my great honor to serve with you." The secretary visited the base as part of his weeklong visit to Florida to participate in senior leader meetings at MacDill Air Force Base and the Air Force Association’s Annual Air Warfare Symposium in nearby Orlando. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Matthew Jurgens)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley visited with 45th Space Wing Airmen here Feb. 21 as part of a weeklong visit to Florida.

The secretary visited Patrick to not only thank Airmen, civilian and military alike, for their outstanding service, but also to discuss the potential impacts the service will be dealing with under sequestration.

"You stepped forward, you raised your hand, and you said 'I will,'" said Donley, who also participated in senior leader meetings at MacDill Air Force Base and the 29th Annual Air Force Association Air Warfare Symposium in nearby Orlando during the week. "Thanks for your service to the United States Air Force. You are continuing a heritage we are all honored to be a part of."

During his visit to Patrick, the secretary had lunch with military and civilian leaders and award nominees from across the wing, toured various base locations and held an "Airman's Call" to discuss the latest challenges affecting the service.

After lunch, Donley participated in a guard mount with security forces Airmen, and toured the newly-renovated Combat Arms Training Facility. There, he was able to watch 9mm pistol qualification training at the state-of-the-art facility.

The secretary also met with the "Mighty Medics" at the 45th Medical Group's health clinic and satellite pharmacy. He received an in-depth view of the 8th-busiest pharmacy in the Air Force and had a unique opportunity to go behind-the-scenes, where technicians, volunteers and Airmen process over 439,000 prescriptions annually for 53,000 DoD beneficiaries.

From there, it was to the base theater, where the secretary held an "Airman's Call," where he thanked 45th SW Commander Brig. Gen. Anthony Cotton and his team for their hospitality, and then quickly turned his attention to the current challenges facing not only the Air Force, but Airmen and their families.

"We're all concerned about our nation's financial gridlock issues. Sequestration is not a course any of us would choose and I am deeply saddened to be talking about this. It's an unfortunate and distasteful reality for our civilian Airmen to digest," he said, highlighting the potential impacts to overall readiness and modernization programs as well as the recent notifications of potential civilian furloughs.

Mitch Singer, a civilian employee with wing staff, agreed with the secretary, and appreciated the straight-talk message.

"This [sequestration] is not anything anyone here takes lightly. Am I disappointed? You bet but it's good to know the senior leadership in the DoD and the Air Force is doing all they can to get this fixed," he said. "Like the Secretary said, our civilian workforce is highly valued and it takes the 'total force' to reach mission success here and at every base throughout the Air Force."

Donley went on to discuss the difficult challenges that lie ahead, while also stressing that the Air Force has been in these "less-than-favorable" situations before.

"In each and every turn in the road prior to this, the Air Force has continued to provide global vigilance and power to the friends and allies who count on us," he said. "We'll get through this, and we'll do so together."

General Cotton thanked the secretary for his visit, and echoed the secretary's words.

"Our total force team made up of uniformed personnel, government civilians and contractors work in concert to ensure we accomplish our mission safely and with precision," Cotton said.

And while the fiscal environment remains uncertain, Donley stressed the importance of a continued emphasis on mission accomplishment.

"Bottom line up front: Keep doing what you are doing. Stay focused on your mission," he said.
"Thanks for choosing the Air Force and thanks to your families as well. In so many ways, this is a family business. It takes a nation to produce an Air Force, and it is my great honor to serve with you."