Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, 18th Air Force commander, speaks to Team Dover Airmen during an all-call March 25, 2014, at the base theater on Dover Air Force Base, Del. McDew spoke to Airmen about leadership and force reduction and how those issues will affect the Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Roland Balik)
Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, 18th Air Force commander, listens while an Airman asks a question during a breakfast with Team Dover Airmen March 25, 2014, at the dining facility on Dover Air Force Base, Del. McDew answered questions ranging from force shaping to his advice for a successful career. (U.S. Air Force photo/Greg L. Davis)
Master Sgt. Jamie Beard, 436th Operations Support Squadron aircrew flight equipment flight chief, gives Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, 18th Air Force commander, a tour of the aircrew flight equipment facility March 25, 2014, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. McDew visited Dover AFB to meet and speak with Airmen and to tour the base. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Zachary Cacicia)
by Airman 1st Class William Johnson
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
3/26/2014 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Lt. Gen. Darren McDew, 18th Air Force commander, received a firsthand view of some of the mission specific capabilities of Team Dover during a visit here March 25, 2014.
The commander toured the largest aerial port in the Department of Defense, visited the Center for the Families of the Fallen and spoke with Airmen at an all-call at the base theater.
"One thing I love about going around to different bases is meeting great Airmen," said McDew. "With great Airmen comes great leadership and there is great leadership here at Dover."
McDew spoke with Airmen about major issues affecting the Air Force today. However, he started the briefing with a message to all Airmen.
"I have found that there is no real way to convey how much the leaders in our Air Force appreciate what you do on a daily basis," said McDew. "We cannot be here to appreciate you every day. So on behalf of our senior leaders, I'm going to do it now with these two simple words that come as close as I can find, 'thank you.'"
McDew said the Air Force has learned a lot from the past 12 years of war and he believes this is why this is the greatest Air Force we have ever had.
"Today's Air Force is combat tested," said McDew. "An Airman thinks differently. Today's Airmen have never been presented with a task that they can't do."
While McDew praised today's Air Force, he highlighted that changes are coming and Airmen need to prepare for it. The general referenced a saying that states "in times of trouble, you need to be willing to change just about everything you do except your core beliefs."
"What's at our core?" asked McDew. "Obviously integrity, service, and excellence, but I also believe courageous, bold and risk-taking Airmen are at our core. Everything else we need to be willing to change because nothing should survive unless it's going to improve us going forward."
McDew also spoke about safety and suicide prevention in the Air Force. He said Airmen stepping up and taking leadership is something that could drastically reduce the number of incidents within our force.
"Suicides are tough on our entire organization and the element that gets us through this is leadership, and we can't stop applying it," said McDew. "If we stop applying it, it can happen again. We have to become more courageous, more bold and most importantly, lead."
McDew left the briefing with a challenge to all Team Dover Airmen.
"The leadership that exists here would not be possible without you," said McDew. "All I ask you now is that you lead. Every day in your part of the world as we work through this turbulence, don't look to someone else to solve it, you solve it."
3/27/2014 4:59:36 PM ET LtGen McDew is a firm reminder that we remain in noble and capable hands even during stressful and turbulant times. His presence upon our Base was a tremendous privilege