SECAF salutes Airmen during ceremony

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Beneath the spires of the Air Force Memorial erected under his watch, the secretary of the Air Force bid farewell to Airmen June 20, his last day as their senior civilian official.

Secretary Michael W. Wynne addressed the crowd of Airmen, civilians and media in a ceremony at the memorial, speaking to some of the successes and challenges during his tenure.

"I started out as a futurist and still am," he said earlier in the day. "We are facing stark modernization upgrades and choices. Unfortunately, there is a widely held perception that the Air Force legacy capability that the country has relied on for so long to ensure U.S. global reach will exist without significant modernization and upgrading."

The secretary specifically highlighted his efforts to prepare the Air Force for both the current war on terror as well as future challenges, such as:

-- Adopting cyberspace as a warfighting domain
-- Integrating Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receiver systems with ground combatants
-- Properly training Airmen to deploy for new roles and responsibilities
-- Incorporating unmanned aerial vehicles to help warfighters overseas as well as emergency responders here at home
-- Acquiring the weapon systems needed to sustain Air Force missions
-- Synthetic aircraft fuel development

Secretary Wynne pushed for the recapitalization of the Air Force fleet. The F-22A Raptor and F-35 Lightning II are essential to the Air Force mission, he said.

He said the Government Accountability Office announcement this week will delay the acquisition of the service's top priority -- a new air refueling tanker.

"We're disappointed with the outcome of the report," Secretary Wynne said at the Pentagon before the ceremony. "Especially for the people who worked hard to make sure we were open and transparent in our process. But they'll pull up their socks and keep working on it to make it happen."

Finally, the secretary thanked Airmen for their continued dedication to the mission.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to be your secretary," Secretary Wynne said. "The Air Force is in your hands. I wish you all the best of luck and know you'll do our nation proud."