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Gen North visit
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Gen. Gary North, Pacific Air Forces commander, talks with Wolf Pack first sergeants and chiefs Aug. 9 during a visit here Aug. 8-10. General North visited several areas of the base during his stay including the base exchange, bowling alley, fitness center and lodging. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah)
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PACAF Commander visits Wolf Pack

Posted 8/22/2010   Updated 8/22/2010 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Amanda Savannah
8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/22/2010 - KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The Pacific Air Forces commander visited Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Aug. 8-10, as part of his recurring base visits to ensure Pacific Air Forces Airmen's concerns are heard and understood from every level of command. Gen. Gary North toured the Wolf Pack, talked with airmen in numerous venues and attended an informal dinner with 8th Fighter Wing chiefs and first sergeants.

During his dinner with the senior enlisted leadership, General North reflected on his time as the 8th FW commander, Wolf #38.

"I wanted to let you know that what you do is so very important," he said to the group. He said one of the most significant events of his time at Kunsan was when the first sergeants made him an honorary member of their organizations.

"That was the single biggest honor I could have received at Kunsan and if you go in my office today, you will see my certificates as an honorary shirt and as well as an honorary chief," said General North.

"There's no place like Kunsan," the general continued. "As a first sergeant and a chief, you will run across people who are here during your year here, and you will run across them again and again. They will recognize you as their first sergeants and chiefs and will come to you to say 'We were in the Wolf Pack together.' Nobody lights up like they do when they say 'We were at the Wolf Pack together.'"

General North also addressed some issues affecting the Air Force currently, including suicide prevention, continuing education, inspections, and Air Force Physical Training standards.

Suicide prevention was General North's first main topic.

"Suicide prevention is in my Top 5 list, and it has all our leaders' eyes," he said. "We're starting to directly brief Air Force suicides to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, so anything you can do as leaders to help us is so important, because this is a large issue we must face head on with our airmen. "

Another important topic was education.

"Everybody needs to continue their education," General North said. "There are lots of places to do that, whether in a traditional classroom on base or off base, or even online."
The PACAF commander also addressed base inspections.

"There's always room to have someone come look at you; we inspect not to grade you, but to figure out how to help you," he said. "Our team is really watching and evaluating you to make sure you are in compliance with our regulations."

Finally, General North addressed Air Force PT statistics and the importance of PT.

"The Air Force across the board is at a 20 percent fail rate, which is less than the 25 percent we were projecting," he said. "Forty-two percent of the Air Force is scoring above a 90, which means we have a lot of fit Airmen and a lot of Airmen working to be fit enough to test once per year, which actually helps the Air Force."

"There's no better place to get fit than on a remote tour," General North continued. "You've got a great fitness center and a great HAWC (health and wellness center). It's also our lifestyle - we've got to be fit to fight to accomplish our mission."

Chief Master Sgt. Michael Adams, 8th Operations Group command chief, said he enjoyed spending time with General North.

"I have had several opportunities to work and interact with General North, and it's a pleasure anytime I get to hear him because he's a master of the big picture," Chief Adams said. "It was also nice to be able to sit in the informal setting with our MAJCOM (major command) commander."

Before the dinner was over, General North thanked the first sergeants and chiefs for their service.

"It's tough to be a first sergeant and chief," he said. "Not only are you mentoring and taking care of your Airmen, but you mentor airmen alongside your commanders and as well, you take care of your commanders. Thank you all for the job you do."

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