Top Tier Defense Leader Visits CAFB
By 2nd Lt. Justin Jarrell, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 13, 2007
COLUMBUS AFB, Miss. --
Lieutenant Gen. William Fraser, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Columbus AFB on Thursday and Friday. He was the keynote speaker for the graduation of Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Class 07-10. His visit also included a mentoring session for interested military members as well as a visit to the downtown area of the city of Columbus for the SUPT Class 08-10 Pilot Partner Welcome.
His Phillips Auditorium mentoring session Thursday afternoon gave Airmen across CAFB the opportunity to ask General Fraser questions. His discussion ranged from his experiences as a young pilot to his recent opportunities and discussions with the President of the United States.
General Fraser's visit continued to downtown Columbus Thursday evening where he participated in the Pilot Partner Welcome. The Pilot Partner Welcome program provides opportunities for local civic organizations and businesses to welcome students of SUPT classes. Thursday's event was co-sponsored by the Air Force Association and members of the Columbus Lowndes Development Link. Held at the Art Loft of Birney Imes, this social gathering gave students of SUPT Class 08-10 an opportunity to casually speak, not only with local civic leaders, but with General Fraser as well as Colonel Dave Gerber, 14th Flying Training Wing Commander, and Colonel Eric Theisen, 14th Operations Group Commander.
General Fraser's message at the graduation on Friday was focused on the need for the graduates to retain "competence, confidence, integrity and stamina." He said Airmen are "going to spot incompetence" in leadership and told the graduates, "to work hard to develop and expand your expertise" to better lead Airmen. He said we are a part of a new Air Force with the "operational Senior Airman and the strategic Lieutenant."
During his time at Columbus AFB, he also spoke about his duties working as an advisor to the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He attends many of her international meetings and spoke of her as "so knowledgeable about so many different topics." He reflected on his amazement of how global in nature the jobs of the Department of State and Department of Defense can be and how much the success of these organizations depends on hardworking individuals. He expressed his confidence in the workers at both the Department of Defense and the Department of State despite negative attention that they sometimes receive.
When asked about upcoming challenges, he was quick to point out a need to focus on current issues. "I'm inspired by the fact that there is a focus on the issues at hand," General Fraser stated.
General Fraser left Columbus AFB on Friday afternoon to return to his office at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.