People Before Airplanes

Historically, the Air Force has focused a lot of time and money on its aircraft, but not as much money on airmen and their families, said Air Force Special Operations Command boss Lt. Gen. Eric Fiel. However, the service is “kind of turning that around” since officials realize the stresses that more than two decades of steady deployments in support of contingency operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere have placed on airmen and their families, he said during a panel discussion on Feb. 23 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. Fiel said, for AFSOC airmen, such deployments are “pretty much in our DNA” and he doesn’t see the operations tempo slowing down anytime soon. AFSOC will remain actively involved in humanitarian missions across the globe, in Afghanistan, Africa, and in the Philippines, he said. The stressful pace hasn’t affected morale too much, he noted. “The biggest problem I have is who is not going to go,” said Fiel. “Everyone wants to go.”