Leadership Ideas, Information and News

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

COMUSAFE shares leadership perspective

by Tech. Sgt. James M. Hodgman
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa

5/14/2014 - RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, addressed many issues during a commander's call at the Officer's Club here May 9.

The general said he's proud of the work USAFE-AFAFRICA Airmen do every day.

It has been a busy time, Gorenc said. "We're working really hard both in Europe and in Africa. In my view, we've been doing a very good job in our role as the air component for two combatant commanders."

USAFE-AFAFRICA serves as the air component for U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command, responsible for operations in three continents covering more than 19 million square miles.

"I'm grateful for all the work you do every single day," Gorenc told the crowd, "it's accurate, relevant and impacting."

Gorenc also stressed the importance of the Air Force vision and how USAFE-AFAFRICA fits into it.

"Our vision is to be the world's greatest Air Force powered by Airmen, fueled by innovation," Gorenc said. "I like that vision because its faithful to our heritage and it describes who is going to do it.our Airmen are going to do it.

"We are a better Air Force now than when I came in 35 years ago," he said. "How does that happen? It happens because Airmen figure out how to do it through innovation."

The general shared feedback from his commander's call in January and details from the command's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response stand down day events.

The intent of the stand down was for Airmen to understand how to step in and stop sexual assaults, and to better respond to victims, said Dr. Thomas Appel-Schumacher, USAFE-AFAFRICA SAPR program manager.

"Offenders depend upon the culture and climate to foster their views of disrespect and lack of dignity in the treatment of others," Appel-Schumacher said. "By making the climate one where sexual assault and harassment won't be tolerated, we bring offenders out into the open. They will likely be caught and prosecuted or they will decide that the Air Force is not a place where they can thrive."

Gorenc shared statistics from the Department of Defense's 2013 Annual Report on Sexual Assault.

He said, in 2013 roughly 5,000 sexual assaults occurred throughout the DoD and about 1,000 belonged to the Air Force. Approximately 100 belonged to USAFE-AFAFRICA and in most cases victims knew their attackers, and in most cases alcohol was involved.

Preventing sexual assault is important, Gorenc added, because people get hurt, it's against the law, and it hinders our mission.

He stressed one of the best ways to prevent the crime is by focusing on professional work environments.

"We need to ensure we have professional working environments that foster trust and allow for workers to understand that if they are victims of sexual assault they are free to make that known so they can get the help they need, and we can track down the perpetrator," he said.

Gorenc closed the commander's call by thanking Airmen for their service and asked them to continue developing the force of the future.

"Thank you for the work you're doing, thank you for the sacrifices that you're making and the sacrifices your families are making," Gorenc said.

"Be encouraging to those that follow you and be optimistic," he added. "What you leave behind is what our future is and we have to get ready for what's next. Our primary requirement is to continue to develop our Airmen and that's what I want to do; come join me."

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