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Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne took part Feb. 5 in the grand-opening ceremony of a new complex at an unnamed operating base in Southwest Asia. The Blatchford-Preston Complex is a $106.9 million joint construction project between the US and host nation that features the base’s first “permanent” dormitories and improved recreational facilities. “It’s great to be here today, under one sky, working together for peace and prosperity,” Wynne said, thanking the host nation for its support. The complex is named after MSgt. Samuel Nathan Blatchford, a B-17 radio operator in World War II, and Gen. Maurice Preston, commander of the 379th Bombardment Group of B-17s during the same conflict. “It’s fitting to name this facility after two airmen whose courage and integrity set an example for all,” said Lt. Gen. Gary North, commander of US Central Command Air Forces, during the ceremony. The new recreational facilities include a base exchange, food court, game room, and state-of-the-art fitness center. One side note: The Air Force doesn’t like to refer to its presence in the Middle East/Near East as permanent, but rather as “enduring.” This means that it will stay as long as needed to complete the mission, but will then leave when the host nation asks. Thus the new dormitories may outlast the Air Force’s mission there. An important distinction.