Gen. Mark Welsh became the Air Force’s 20th Chief of Staff last week during a ceremony at JB Andrews, Md. Welsh replaced Gen. Norton Schwartz who stepped down after four years in the post and retired from the Air Force, ending a 39-year career. “When I became a squadron commander, I felt excited. When I became a wing commander, I felt proud. When I became a major command commander, I felt privileged and a little bit old,” Welsh told the assembled airmen and guests upon assuming his new role during the Aug. 10 leadership transition event. He continued, “Today, being sworn in as the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, I just feel humbled.” Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, who swore Welsh in, praised his new partner. “Mark is respected throughout the Air Force for his exceptional leadership and ability to connect with airmen,” he said. Donley also paid tribute to Schwartz. “Anyone looking for an example of Air Force core values need look no further than Gen. Norty Schwartz,” said Donley. “Thank you for your lasting contribution to our Air Force and the character and quality of your service.” (Andrews report by TSgt. Shawn J. Jones) (See also AFPS report by Jim Garamone and AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.)
The F-35 Joint Program Office has officially announced plans to issue multiple sole-source contracts to Pratt & Whitney to upgrade the fighter’s F135 engine—a widely expected move after Pentagon officials indicated they would do so earlier this year instead of developing an entirely new engine.