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AETC commander visits Laughlin, speaks on key issues

Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, unlatches a harness after getting fitted by Aircrew Flight Equipment at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 8, 2014. He was fitted in a harness for a training sortie scheduled during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike)

Gen. Robin Rand, Air Education and Training Command commander, unlatches a harness after getting fitted by Aircrew Flight Equipment at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 8, 2014. He was fitted in a harness for a training sortie scheduled during his visit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike)

Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, Air Education and Training Command command chief, shares a laugh with the 47th Medical Group at the base clinic on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 9, 2014. The clinic’s team members spoke to him about how they train and maintain standards, supporting mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike)

Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, Air Education and Training Command command chief, shares a laugh with the 47th Medical Group at the base clinic on Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, Jan. 9, 2014. The clinic’s team members spoke to him about how they train and maintain standards, supporting mission readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jimmie D. Pike)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Air Education and Training Command's senior leaders visited Laughlin for a tour of the base's day-to-day operations Jan. 8 and 9.

Gen. Robin Rand, AETC commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, AETC command chief, met with leadership, toured the base, and spoke with Team XL during a two-day site visit of the 47th Flying Training Wing.

"It is amazing what you all do here at Laughlin," said Rand. "I've been watching your base for a long time, and it's amazing what I see here. You have deployed airmen who are right now walking the line and medics doing great work, but it's what all of you do for the Air Force to help new pilots earn their wings that is so outstanding. Your mission at Laughlin is the pulse, the bread and butter of the Air Force, and I hope you know that."

While here, Rand held a series of all-calls for base personnel to attend, and he spoke about a variety of issues impacting the Air Force.

Throughout the discussions, Rand often referred to his own personal philosophy of reinforcing what people should do to excel, rather than what they shouldn't do.

"I don't want to tell you what you shouldn't do. I want to emphasize what you should do," said Rand. "Talk to your airmen about excellence. You are a part of the world's greatest Air Force, and you are responsible for teaching them to be great American airmen."

In speaking about the Air Force's current financial situation, Rand highlighted the importance airmen play in helping shape policy.

"We have to define the new norm, and I need your help," said Rand. "We are not going to do more with less. We are counting on you to tell us what to do less of to keep quality up."

In answering questions about force reshaping, Rand commented that the process will be accomplished in measured parts to reach the required reduction levels with the hope of limiting the numbers of involuntary cuts required.

More than just policy, Rand spoke of the importance in knowing the legacy and heritage that defines the Air Force.

"We are warriors, do we talk about that?" Said Rand. "Do we talk about our heritage and our legacy? Do we talk about these things with our airmen? Our traditions were forged with blood, sweat and tears. Never forget about the thousands of airmen who got us to this point. Don't break the faith and always remember what really matters."

Rand concluded his visit by thanking Team XL for all they do.

"Adhere to our core values, maintain our standards, learn about our heritage, and be great role models," said Rand. "This base and its people, airmen and families alike, are phenomenal. Laughlin is where the rubber meets the road."