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PACAF commander visits Andersen

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Angelique Smythe
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The new Pacific Air Forces commander, Gen. Howie Chandler, visited Andersen Jan. 10 and 11.

No stranger to the island of Guam, Gen Chandler operated aircraft from Guam several times during his career supporting various exercises and operations. He stated that even though PACAF is smaller than during his previous assignments, it is more capable for a number of reasons. It now has vastly improved training for young Airmen and it has two of our nation's most advanced aircraft in the C-17 and F-22, underscoring the importance of the Pacific.

"Our Chief and our civilian leadership frequently emphasis the Pacific theater," said General Chandler. "They understand how important it is to the nation. That's why you see some of the things that are happening in the Pacific happening today, particularly here at Guam with the forward fighter, bomber, and tanker deployments and the permanent basing of Global Hawk at Andersen. It's important that we not only remain good stewards of the assets entrusted to us, but that we train and employ them in the best possible manner - our nation depends on the effects these capabilities provide."

General Chandler said his new position provides him the opportunity to contribute to Chief's priorities of fighting the Global War on Terror, developing and taking care of Airmen, and re-capitalization and modernization of the force.

He is prepared to deal with the challenges that will present themselves while he is in command of PACAF.

"General (Paul) Hester (former PACAF commander) laid an outstanding foundation that allows me to deal with the Chief's priorities," he said. "I will tell you our first priority is readiness -- readiness to fight tonight; readiness to fight tomorrow. We're in a war that is very important to our nation and we have to be ready to do that, should we be required to do it."

Another challenging aspect will be how PACAF engages with the 41 nations around the Pacific.

"It's a bit of a balancing act, but General Hester gave us a framework that positions our forces where we need them," he said. "We have to look at the responsive combat capability and how we present that to the PACOM commander in providing security and stability -- which PACAF has done for many years. And then, of course, we need to take care of our people."

General Chandler even touched on Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, AFSO 21, which is the name assigned to the business-improving initiatives mandated by Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne and U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley.

He explained it is an opportunity to do things better and smarter in the Air Force.

"I would ask all of us to search for efficiencies using the AFSO 21 solution-oriented approach," he said. "I think it's a great opportunity for Airmen to look at the processes, how they work, and make it better."

The PACAF commander expressed his appreciation to the servicemembers in the greatest Air Force in the world.

"My hat goes off to our Airmen and their families, and I appreciate the hard work they do," said General Chandler. "We at headquarters do care about them and we want to help them in any way we can."

General Chandler is also the Air Component commander for U.S. Pacific Command and Executive Director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff at Hickam AFB, Hawaii.