KUNSAN AIR FORCE BASE, Republic of Korea -- Brig. Gen. David Eaglin, 7th Air Force vice commander, visited the 8th Fighter Wing for an orientation tour July 12.
During his visit, he shared his thoughts with 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs.
Public Affairs: What are your goals for the visit to Kunsan and the 8th FW?
Gen. Eaglin: My goals for this visit are to get out and see the Airmen that are getting after the mission each and every day. I want to thank them for their sacrifices and encourage them to continue working to be as good as they can at their part of the mission. At the same time, I want to strengthen the alliance with the host nation, by ensuring that they know that every Airman is strategic and we, as Airmen, need to be ambassadors for the U.S., so we can be a strong part of the alliance.
What are the 7th AF priorities?
Gen. Wilsbach has four priorities that we are getting after in the 7th Air Force.
The first is ready to fight tonight. I think a lot of people look at “fight tonight” and think that should be our first priority, because readiness certainly is. I think the other thing everyone needs to understand is that if we can be really sharp and ready, we will dissuade any adversary aggression against us. It really underpins our deterrence posture so that is why we want to be ready to fight tonight.
The second one is to maximize our combat capability. I think we’re always looking for better ways to do business, either techniques, tactics or procedures. We need to find ways to do things more efficiently and a little cheaper, but also maintain that same level of effectiveness. I think if we maximize that effectiveness within budget constraints and people constraints, then we will be better off as a force.
The third thing is to strengthen the ROK-U.S. alliance. We are guests here. While in Korea we are steeped in Korean heritage and I think us being transient, on one- or two-year assignments, we don’t have the luxury of time to get a deeper understanding of the culture. We want to make sure our folks are invested in the local community and the alliance with our partners, so that we can understand where they are coming from and uphold our end of the alliance by being good partners.
The last one is taking care of the Airmen and their families. A lot of the stuff I talked about before is either mission based or alliance based, but I think if we can take care of the Airmen and their families, then all of the mission and readiness related things will take care of themselves. If we are just getting after the mission all the time and not really caring about them as people or only as assets to the United States Air Force, then the mission will suffer.
Those are really the four priorities that we have in the 7th Air Force.
What expectations do you have for the 8th FW Airmen?
First and foremost, be ready. It doesn’t matter what you do for the Wolf Pack, the 7th Air Force or the alliance, be ready. It doesn’t matter if you are cleaning teeth at the dental clinic, if you’re handing out towels at the gym or if you’re working at the golf course, I need you to be ready to make that mission happen. A lot of people see airplanes flying around, but there are a whole lot of elements to that. It’s not just a pilot in an airplane flying. There is a maintenance unit that is getting that airplane ready. There are a bunch of folks that are handling parts and logistics, there are airmen in the medical group making sure everybody is healthy and ready to do all those things, and there are other folks providing mission support to make sure they are ready to go.
The other thing is to be respectful to one another. Be professional. Treat the Wolf Pack like a family. This is probably the closest-knit base you’ll ever be on, so enjoy that part of it. Be mindful of our host, the Koreans, be respectful to them and continue to strengthen the alliance.
How does the 8th FW fit into the 7th AF mission?
The 35th and the 80th Fighter Squadrons obviously maximize our combat capabilities of our airpower team and there are many underlying elements that make them successful. The entire 2,700 Airmen on this base are a force multiplier for us and are key to our ability to deter, defend and uphold the alliance with the ROKAF.
What is the one thing you would like the Wolf Pack to know?
The Wolf Pack is a really unique place, because everyone is so close to the mission. You go on a lot of bases and you talk operational plans, most people who aren’t the teeth of the operation don’t understand that, but here I think every Airman understands and knows the importance of that. It’s very unique.
The other thing that is important is everybody needs to take advantage of today and what I mean by that is a lot of times people don’t enjoy the journey. They just look to the destination. Folks that have been here in the past, they look back with nostalgia and pride for being a part of the Wolf Pack. Now you might have some people here that are just looking towards the end. If they do that then they’ll miss what’s going on in the adventure and when they look back they’ll probably wish they were back at Kunsan. Then there are folks that come back, because they want to come back for that experience again. I would just encourage everyone to take a deep breath and take a look around. Take in where you are at and what you are doing. There is no closer knit unit than the Wolf Pack!