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AFCENT commander visits Afghanistan

  • Published
  • By Maj. Tony M. Wickman
  • 455th AEW Public Affairs
Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., U.S. Central Command Combined Forces Air Component Commander and Air Forces Central commander, visited Airmen in Afghanistan July 24-27 and got updated on theater missions.

Brown visited Kandahar Airfield, Bagram Airfield and Kabul during his trip and observed Airmen performing their duties in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel and NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

“It’s an honor and pleasure to be here and see what is happening here in Afghanistan. To see the Airmen who are making it all happen…it fires me up,” the general said. “It’s interesting sitting back in Al Udeid [Air Base, Qatar] and to look at our big screen with our air picture and see the spreadsheet that represents the ATO [air tasking order]…to me it’s just a piece of paper. But, to come out here and see all the moving parts to make that piece of paper come alive and see the Airmen who are making it happen is important. It gives me a better appreciation for everything it takes in order to make things happen.”

Brown said his visit had three purposes: to come out and see Airmen and the missions they perform on a day-to-day basis; to get updated on the changes in the theater since he was last here 15 months ago; and, finally to participate in the 438th Air Expeditionary Wing change of command in Kabul.

The general said a big part of his job is taking care Airmen.

“As you might imagine there are several layers between me and some of our Airmen,” Brown said. “So for me it was important to come out and meet with them up close and personal, talk to them about what and why we’re doing what we’re doing, and understand how we can be supportive. What I believe is I work for them to make their jobs easier.”

Brig. Gen. Dave Julazadeh, 455th AEW commander, said it was important to have the AFCENT commander visit the “Vulture Nation” and to walk away with a better understanding of what the wing is doing in support of theater operations and how it will transition in the future.

“It was important to have Lt. Gen. Brown visit. He needed to get a good understanding of where the wing and its subordinate units at Kandahar and Jalalabad stand today, and then where we need to move forward in the future,” Julazadeh said. “It was also important for him to get out here and see the Airmen – what their attitude and motivation levels are – and vice versa for them to see him and that he values their service and their input.”

Julazadeh said it was great hosting the AFCENT commander and have him interact with the wing’s Airmen.

“Overall it was a fantastic visit. He really enjoyed meeting the Airmen…he spent a lot of time walking the flightline and going into different groups and squadrons to see and talk to Airmen,” Julazadeh said.

Brown said the highlight of his trip was the positive attitude of the Airmen he saw during his visit.

“The attitude and innovation of our Airmen out here getting the mission done impressed me,” Brown said. “No matter what kind of condition they’re in, to watch them have a great attitude to get the mission done impressed me.”