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Gen. Hostage
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Timothy Blum, 552nd Maintenance Squadron crew chief, talks with Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, about the familiar aircraft challenges of battling corrosion on the E-3 Sentry in one of several briefings during the commander’s three-day Tinker visit. The general met with Airmen throughout the 552nd Air Control Wing Jan. 25-27, thanking them at every opportunity for their service. Behind Hostage are, back from left; Col. John Rauch, 552nd ACW commander; Col. Stella Smith, 552nd Maintenance Group commander; and Command Chief Master Sgt. Eddie Compton, 552nd ACW command chief. (Air Force photo by Margo Wright)
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ACC commander visits Tinker

Posted 2/10/2012   Updated 2/10/2012 Email story   Print story

    


by Brandice J. O'Brien
Tinker Public Affairs


2/10/2012 - TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla.  -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, said it was good to be back. The former 552nd Air Control Wing commander said he has missed Tinker, Oklahoma and the vibrant Oklahoma City metro community. During his visit Jan. 25-27, the general also addressed several Air Force and ACC concerns.

During his first visit to Tinker since being named ACC commander in September, the general met Airmen, discussed wing issues with senior leadership and toured the facilities.

"One of the things we dearly loved about living here was the community. The people here are kind, generous and great military supporters," said Hostage. "Oklahoma City is doing great and it was really great seeing the community again."

The general said he knows the military is facing serious fiscal challenges and believes the adage of "doing more with less" isn't the answer. "In fact, it should be erased from our lexicon." "The natural tendency of our bureaucratic system is to share the pain and level the load," Hostage said. "We do what we call the 'salami slice' or 'peanut butter spread.' We do the cut and lay it across many things, which seems fair, but we have to be careful we don't sub-optimize our overall capability."

As a former warfighter in Iraq and Afghanistan, he understands the need versus the constraints and is doing his part to find a balance.

"I can articulate to our leadership why we need the things we need - the equipment, supplies and personnel," the general said.

In his 34-year career, Hostage has more than 4,000 flying hours and has logged more than 600 combat hours in Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Prior to becoming the ACC commander, the general served as the commander of U.S. Air Forces Central Command in Southwest Asia.

The general said that reducing the number of Airmen in a unit or minimizing the budget and expecting Airmen to accomplish the same mission with the same results will hollow the force and make the United States vulnerable.

The ACC commander also said the Air Force should also focus on "un-hollowing" whatever has been done through previous reductions or ongoing operations.

"When you have a large force and a strategic stalemate, you can get away with being hollow as long as the other guy doesn't call your bluff," Hostage said. "But, in the high ops-tempo that we live in today, a hollow force will crack and, as we get smaller, hollowness becomes that much more dangerous."



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