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New PACAF commander visits Kadena AB

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Christopher A. Marasky
  • 18th Wing Public Affairs
The new Pacific Air Forces commander discussed the delicate balance between combat readiness and taking care of the Airmen, as well as the budget and the importance of relations with Japan during a visit to Kadena Jan 25.

Gen. Carrol "Howie" Chandler, who took command of PACAF in November, spent a day here visiting with Airmen and learning about Kadena's operations as part of his tour of the PACAF area of operations.

"The Airmen and their families have my pledge that as we balance readiness and ability to fight, we will do our absolute best to ensure Airmen have the conditions they need both on and off the job," General Chandler said.

The general said morale for both Airmen and their families is important.

"We have an all volunteer force," he said. "It's important for people to enjoy what they do. Quite honestly, if people don't enjoy what they are doing, it's very clear that they won't stay with us in an all volunteer force. We must try to strike that delicate balance between doing our job and taking care of the families in the process."

During talks with base Airmen, General Chandler spoke about how the budget affects that balance and what 2008 has in store for the command.

"We had a fairly austere budget environment in 2007," he said. "We did some things we didn't necessarily want to do, but in some cases we had to in order to make the balance between readiness and taking care of our people."

"The budget has improved," he said, "but challenges remain. What you'll see is leadership going back to look at some of the things we did in 2007 and correcting some of those things to set the standards."

The budget wasn't the only area in which the general discussed Air Force standards and their importance.

"We're part of the world's greatest Air Force," General Chandler said. "It's important to maintain the standards that show we are the world's greatest Air Force."

Visiting PACAF bases is important in order for the general to be able to see the men and women who exemplify those standards each day.

"I will tell you that being able to come out here and see people at work, doing their job is what keeps me going," he said. "We have great young men and women who do this job, and they work hard at it."

The general said one reward for that hard work is a strong relationship with Japan, which leads to greater rewards for the entire region.

"I believe that our relationship with the Japanese is really foundational for what we do in terms of security and stability here in the Pacific," he said. "Our long standing relationship with Japan has allowed us to work with them and other countries to allow this region to flourish in ways that other parts of the world cannot."

As he prepared to leave Kadena and continue on his tour, the general thanked the members of the 18th Wing and PACAF for their work.

"I want to make sure that the young men and women who are out here doing the hard work every day in PACAF understand that we at headquarters appreciate what they are doing," General Chandler said. "We also appreciate what the families do in coming here, and the support they give their spouses every day."