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Gen Rice CAFB
Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, shakes the hand of Staff Sgt. Michael Satchell during his visit to the fire station June 18. After a warm welcome from the Airmen at the fire station, Rice spoke to junior enlisted Airmen about various topics, such as their reason for joining the military, at the junior enlisted meeting in the fire station. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Stephanie Englar)
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AETC Senior leaders visit Columbus AFB

Posted 6/24/2013   Updated 6/24/2013 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Stephanie Englar
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

6/24/2013 - COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. -- Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of the Air Education and Training Command, Mrs. Teresa Rice, and Chief Master Sgt. Gerardo Tapia, AETC command chief, visited Columbus Air Force Base June 17-18 as part of their tour around the command.

During their two day stay, they were given a tour of numerous locations on Columbus Air Force Base and the ability to talk to Airmen about hot topics in the military today.

When they arrived Monday, the first place the group stopped at was the Prairie Wildlife Sporting Estate, which hosted a community reception.

"One thing I noticed was that you have a community that is ready and wants to embrace every Airman out here. I was really touched by that," said Tapia. "Everyone at the dinner wanted to come up and thank me and talk about you guys, and I thought that was special. What you have to do now is go out and earn their admiration, and you do this by being good citizens and getting involved in the community in a positive way."

The tour continued Tuesday morning with the group splitting up to cover various locations on base.

Rice ate breakfast with a select group of commissioned officers in the Daedalians Room of the Club while Tapia went off base to The Little Kitchen with a group of senior non-commissioned officers. Topics discussed at the Little Kitchen meeting included the Air Force Fitness Program and PT test changes, changes to the special duty process in where the Air Force would select well qualified individuals rather than special duties being on a volunteer basis, and changes to the EPR system to stop inflation of Airmen EPRs.

Rice and Tapia continued their meetings throughout the morning at various locations including the 37th Flying Training Squadron, the Fire Station, and the Golf Course. Topics in the meetings included the roles of supervisors to junior Airmen and sexual assault in the Air Force.

"One of the topics that the junior Airmen meeting covered was sexual assault prevention," said Airman 1st Class Anthony Isles, 14th Communications Squadron. "During the meeting, General Rice talked to us about it and asked if we had any solutions to the problem."

While Rice and Tapia attended meetings with Airmen around the base, Mrs. Rice was greeted at the Commissary by members of the Commissary and Airmen and Family Readiness Center staff. Mrs. Rice was briefed on the Ten Dollars a Day program that is offered to new Airmen going through the First Term Airman Center. After the briefing, samples of sushi from the recently opened sushi bar were dispersed.

"It was great to have Mrs. Rice visit the Commissary," said La Vida Nethercutt, Defense Commissary Agency store director. "She is really genuine and you can really tell that she cares about the men and women who come here."

"During Mrs. Rice's last visit she toured numerous programs on the base," said Laura Clagg, 14th Force Support Squadron. "The Ten dollar a day program started after her last visit so it was nice to be able to highlight the program and the success it has had.

After the Commissary, Mrs. Rice traveled over to the Hunt Housing Complex to receive a briefing on important housing topics for Columbus AFB. Topics in the briefing included utility costs and housing allowances.

An All Call was held at the Kaye Auditorium for Airmen on base to come out and listen to a briefing by Rice and Tapia. After the briefing Airmen had the opportunity to ask the AETC commander and command chief their own questions.

After a day of touring the command and hearing the opinions of Airmen, Rice, Mrs. Rice, and Tapia departed Columbus AFB to continue their tour.

"This has been a great visit to Columbus," said Rice. "This is my second time here and I'm happy to have a chance to revisit the 14th Flying Training Wing. My focus has been different this time; I'm more focused on talking with as many Airmen as I possibly can and I've been able to accomplish that with small groups that were reflective of the general thoughts among their peers within the Wing."

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