Secretary of the Air Force Visits Idaho

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Sarah Pokorney
  • 124 Fighter Wing
Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James visited here Feb. 19, during a visit of Idaho Air Force installations. James' visit included meetings with the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and civic and elected officials followed by an all call attended by Idaho Air National Guardsmen.

"My three priorities are: one, taking care of people; number two, striking a balance between readiness today and readiness tomorrow which means modernizing our aircraft and our Air Force across the board; and third, in this very tight budget period, making every dollar count," said James. "We're the best Air Force on the planet but we're an Air Force under strain from a number of different angles. And something's got to give--the question is--what will that thing be?"

James addressed budgetary constraints and the projected 124th Fighter Wing classic association with the 366th Fighter Wing at Mountain Home Air Force Base, which flies the F-15E Strike Eagle ."If this proposal goes through, our goal is to transition the most important part of this weapon system--which are the humans--into good, new jobs that are going to take our Air Force into the future," James said.

"Stay tuned, this is really only the beginning for FY16," said James. "We are going to be working very closely with Congress over the next few months. I remain hopeful that we will work this out with a whole-government approach that will lift this sequestration burden and allow us to fully give America the Air Force that people want and deserve.

"Please stay focused on the mission, on what you're doing, taking care of one another, being good wingmen--that's your job and you've been doing it magnificently," said James. "The Air Force budget situation, as we all know, is very serious," said Col. Sherrie L. McCandless, 124th Fighter Wing commander. "For now what the Secretary of the Air Force briefed is exactly where we are. The plan for the 124th FW hasn't fundamentally changed. We have great Airmen, we have a strong family here at Gowen and we have a community that clearly values our contribution. Please stay proud and continue to embody combat excellence."