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In Times of Change, Some Things Remain Constant

PATRICK AFB, Fla. -- As you are well aware, both the Secretary and Chief of Staff of the Air Force recently resigned their positions amidst the controversy surrounding the shipment of sensitive missile components to Taiwan. 

Significantly, their dual resignations are unprecedented and they should serve as a reminder to all of us that accountability is demanded at all levels. As I ask people their thoughts on this change, the question invariably comes to "what does this mean for me?" 

Honestly, it's too soon to tell what changes will come down as a result of these actions, but I'm confident that it will not be a transparent switch, and it can't be. As Secretary Gates stated, "the Air Force leadership has drifted with respect to perhaps its most sensitive [nuclear] mission." Our most senior government officials have determined that there need to be changes made in the way the Air Force does business. 

The Air Force has persevered through many changes and many different leaders, but there has been one common thread throughout: a tradition of superior teamwork and Airmen. The commitment by each and every one of us to the Air Force's core values and to the accomplishment of the mission are the cornerstones upon which we have built the greatest aerospace power the world has ever seen. 

This will not change. By standing by those core values and by doing everything in our power to get the mission done (and done right), there is no doubt in my mind that we will move forward with every bit of the excellent reputation we have earned. Let me mention another area that will not change. 

The May 12 issue of the Air Force Times contained an article entitled "A Time for Heroes" which profiled several Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen who went far above and beyond the call of duty. From running into direct fire to helping wounded soldiers to surviving an IED blast and thriving despite unbelievable injuries, these individuals exemplify the very best qualities of our American military members, qualities which I see every day, less dramatically, in the great people who work here. 

As the Airman's Creed says, we are all American Airmen. Our mission is to fly, fight and win; our service may call upon you to be flexible during this transition, and it won't be the last time. 

Stand tall and proud in the Air Force tradition, take responsibility for your actions, and stick with the core values which have served you well to this point-integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. You can't go wrong!