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AETC commander, command chief, visit Sheppard
Visiting AETC commander General Edward A. Rice, coins several airmen from the 80th Flying Training Wing on May 31, 2013 at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. The airmen were being congratulated for their outstanding duty performance. (U.S. Air Force photo/Felton Joshua Jr.)
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AETC commander, command chief visit Sheppard; view training and address hot topics

Posted 6/4/2013   Updated 6/4/2013 Email story   Print story


by Dan Hawkins
82nd Training Wing Public Affairs

6/4/2013 - SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The commander and top enlisted leader of Air Education and Training Command visited here May 30-31 to thank the technical training community for training today's Airmen and address current hot-button topics impacting the total force.

Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. and Command Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia spoke to approximately 800 Airmen during an all-call at the base theater during the visit, which included in-depth looks at the 82nd Training Wing's technical training mission and the 80th Flying Training Wing's Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program.

Rice's message to the audience was first and foremost a thank you for setting the training foundation for the Air Force's newest accessions.

"I would argue that (technical and flight training) is just as critical to the Air Force's mission as anything else we do," the general said. "If we don't get the job done right here, then we are going to have serious issues downrange. You are all doing a terrific job."

Sexual assaults, the cost conscious culture and freeing up Airmen's time were also discussed during the all-call.

On the topic of sexual assault, the clear message was this type of behavior has no place in the military or the training world.

"We all need to do everything we can to eliminate sexual assault from our ranks," Rice said. "This behavior can't be allowed to happen and every Airman has a responsibility to make sure it doesn't happen."

"I made a vow the day I graduated Airman Leadership School, the day I could be a supervisor, that no one would ever hurt my Airmen in front of me, and that includes me," Tapia said. "If you did the same, then we could put a dent or end sexual assaults in our Air Force. We all need to do our part."

When it comes to the cost conscious culture, the commander stressed the importance of looking for efficient ways of conducting business.

"We all have to make a proactive stance in being part of the solution," Rice said. "At the end of the day, it really does come down to us."

With the proliferation of more additional duties and tasks, such as online training, Rice stressed the need for supervisors to be cognizant of the time Airmen are spending on centralized tasks.

"We are centralizing a lot of things at the base level," he said. "The key is making sure Airmen have enough professional time to do the professional things like training or planning travel so they don't have to take time away from their families to do it later."

The message at the end of the day was aimed at the people who make the Air Force's mission happen.

"You are the strength of the nation," Rice said. "We can't do our mission without each and every one of you making it happen. Keep it up."

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