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CENTAF commander visits CAFB

Lieutenant Gen. Gary North, commander of 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C., address more than 220 Airmen and air-minded community members at a dinner Jan. 17 hosted by the Base Community Council. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Danielle Hill)

Lieutenant Gen. Gary North, commander of 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C., address more than 220 Airmen and air-minded community members at a dinner Jan. 17 hosted by the Base Community Council. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Danielle Hill)

Lieutenant Gen. Gary North, commander of 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C., address more than 220 Airmen and air-minded community members at a dinner Jan. 17 hosted by the Base Community Council. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Danielle Hill)

Lieutenant Gen. Gary North, commander of 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw AFB, S.C., address more than 220 Airmen and air-minded community members at a dinner Jan. 17 hosted by the Base Community Council. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Danielle Hill)

COLUMBUS AFB, Miss. -- The Columbus Club was at full capacity Thursday night to hear a presentation by Lt. Gen. Gary North. 

General North is the commander, 9th Air Force and U.S. Central Command Air Forces, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C. 

The general spoke about the current war today's service men and women are fighting overseas. He had an event packed evening, first spending an hour speaking with the local Daedalian chapter and then at the Base Community Council dinner meeting. Over 200 Daedalian, BLAZE team members and community members of the Base Community Council listened to Gen North's presentation after a dinner served by the staff of the Columbus Club. 

Throughout the evening the general recounted the day in 1992 that he achieved the honor of having the first USAF aerial victory in the F-16. He was helping to defend the southern part of Iraq in Operation Southern Watch when the victory took place. 

"It was a good day to be an Airman. It was a good day to be part of the coalition that was defending a United Nations resolution," said General North. 

As General North continues on his path to a successful military career, he beamed with pride when talking about the Airmen fighting in the war on terrorism today "I can't think of a better time for our young men and women to be joined in the service to our nation. In particularly as Airmen in our Air Force, we are the most competent Air Force in the world today, we are the most credible and we have the most faithful Airmen in the world. So the Airmen that have joined this service today join a long legacy of faithful Airmen that have stood up to their nation's call. Today's Airmen are incredible in my opinion." 

During his visit to Columbus AFB, the general was also invited to be the keynote speaker at the latest Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training class 08-04. 

General North is a command pilot with more than 4,100 flying hours, primarily in the F-4, F-15 and F-16. He flew 54 combat missions during operations Desert Storm and Southern Watch. The general is in charge of a command that comprises five wings in the eastern United States and three direct reporting units, with more than 350 aircraft and 24,000 active-duty and civilian personnel. As the Air Component Commander for U.S. Central Command, the general is responsible for developing contingency plans and conducting air operations in a 27-nation area of responsibility covering Central and Southwest Asia and the Horn of Africa. 

"What a fantastic, uplifting presentation," reflected Mr. Bobby Harper, BCC President. "It is good to hear all the good things our men and women are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The General gave us the rest of the story!"