Air Force Secretary visits Ali Airmen

Staff Sgt. Daniel Loomis (left, front), an explosive ordnance disposal technician from D-M, along with Senior Airman Jacob McCarty, Airman Gregory Smialek and Senior Airman Ian Jackson, briefs Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne (right, front) on the EOD mission within the 407th Air Expeditionary Group. The Airmen used story boards to help highlight the EOD accomplishments during the current AEF rotation.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Loomis (left, front), an explosive ordnance disposal technician from D-M, along with Senior Airman Jacob McCarty, Airman Gregory Smialek and Senior Airman Ian Jackson, briefs Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynne (right, front) on the EOD mission within the 407th Air Expeditionary Group. The Airmen used story boards to help highlight the EOD accomplishments during the current AEF rotation.

ALI BASE, Iraq -- An NCO from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., did his part to ensure the Secretary of the Air Force understands Airmen's perspectives during a tour of 407th Air Expeditionary Group facilities March 28. 

Staff Sgt. Scott Loomis, an explosive ordnance disposal technician deployed to the 407th Expeditionary Civil Engineer Squadron briefed the Honorable Michael Wynne on EOD accomplishments for the current rotation. 

"I wanted to make sure he left with an impression that what we do is vital to the entire Air Force," Sergeant Loomis said. "What we've done here is valuable to this area and I think he understood that." 

The Secretary, joined by U.S. Central Command Air Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Gary North, began his visit with a group mission briefing. Col. Larry Kauffman, 407th AEG commander, provided the initial presentation. 

More detailed briefings at the 407th AEG's squadrons followed as the secretary heard about the many projects undertaken to improve Ali Base. Airmen from security forces, services, communication, civil engineering, airlift, operations and logistics gave details about their units' accomplishments during Air Expeditionary Force 5/6. 

"I think he came away knowing that CE is one of the hardest working squadrons, hands down. And one of the most professional squadrons as well," Sergeant Loomis said.  "And it made me feel comfortable to know that senior leadership has such a caring attitude toward the people putting in the work over here." 

Leaving behind more capable bases for the next group is one of the strong points of the AEF system, according to Secretary Wynne. He last stopped at Ali Base only 18 months ago, but still was impressed with the many changes. 

"You get to be here for a short time," he said. "You see what it's like when you arrive and you see how you make it better." 

Secretary Wynne's visit was part of a two-base tour of Air Force units in Iraq. He flew into Kirkuk Air Base earlier in the day. During his Ali stay, he repeatedly thanked Airmen for their hard work and for representing the United States honorably. 

"We say that every Airman is an ambassador and you can look in the mirror in the morning and say that ambassador is me," he said. "[Through you] people can see that America is a good place to be from." 

Prior to leaving Ali, Secretary Wynne joined the group's most recent monthly award nominees for dinner in the headquarters conference room.