Air Force Welcomes New Chief of Staff
By Army Staff Sgt. Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 12, 2008 Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said today that he has no doubt the new Air Force chief of staff will “give his all” to the job.
Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, right, and Acting Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley hold a press briefing inside the Pentagon, Aug.12, 2008. Schwartz became the Air Force's 19th chief of staff during a welcome ceremony on Bolling Air Force Base earlier in the day. Defense Dept. photo by U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz became the Air Force’s 19th chief of staff during a ceremony today at Bolling Air Force Base here.
“[Schwartz’s] goal is to recommit the Air Force to the high standards of excellence that have always been its hallmark,” Gates said. “He is one who has lived the core values of airmen and women: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do.”
Gates said Schwartz “is the right man at the right time for this demanding job” because of his experience and expertise to further prepare the Air Force for “challenges on and beyond the horizon.”
Some of these challenges include modernizing the Air Force’s aging fighter and tanker fleets, restoring trust in the Air Force’s stewardship of nuclear weapons and related materiel, protecting space and cyberspace and making the most effective use of air power in counterinsurgency operations while maintaining strategic deterrence and technological superiority, Gates said.
“Airmen and women led by General Schwartz are going after these tasks with zeal and, in so doing, will write new chapters of greatness for the Air Force,” he said.
Schwartz said he is “humbled and honored” to serve as Air Force chief of staff. He reflected on the “incredible journey” he and his wife, Suzie, have had in the Air Force and the journey today’s airmen have embarked on amid the global war on terror.
“We stand on a foundation built through blood and sweat of those who have gone before us,” he said. “Through sacrifice and devotion alongside our joint and coalition partners, we continue to serve together in the defense of liberty.”
He also noted the challenges recently faced by the Air Force regarding scrutiny over the service’s handling of its nuclear weapons program. This eventually led to the resignation of Schwartz’s predecessor, retired Air Force Gen. T. Michael Moseley, and former Air Force Secretary Michael W. Wynne.
“Knowing our nation expects our very, very best, we certainly have some things to fix, some fences to mend and some challenges to overcome,” the general said. “We will show ourselves worthy of the sacred trust our leaders, our joint brethren and the American people place in us, because this business is all about trust.”
Prior to becoming chief of staff, Schwartz spent nearly three years as commander of U.S. Transportation Command, at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., where he was the single manager for global air, land and sea transportation for the Defense Department.
Schwartz began his Air Force career in 1973 after graduating from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a bachelor’s degree in political science and international affairs. During his 35-year career, he has logged more than 4,200 flying hours in a variety of aircraft and participated in war and peacetime operations in Vietnam, Iraq and Cambodia.
Schwartz served in several other command assignments, including Special Operations Command Pacific, Alaskan Command, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and 11th Air Force. He also served as director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon.