Friday, February 27, 2009

Commentary>>Global reach: the 314th Airlift Wing's national security impact

By Col. C.K. Hyde
314th Airlift Wing commander

Our National Security Strategy champions human dignity and democracy – traditional American values, and states that we will strengthen alliances and take cooperative action to make the world a safer and better place. In short, we work with others to accomplish our national objectives. The 314th Airlift Wing provides an integral part of our National Security Strategy by training the World’s best C-130 and C-21 Combat Airlifters.

The United States military has a tradition of working with allies and partners in the cause of freedom. Our Revolutionary War was won with the aid of France. In World Wars I and II we fought as part of a global alliance. In Korea we participated as part of a United Nations Command, and in Afghanistan we fight alongside our NATO partners. In numerous humanitarian operations and in the Global War on Terror, we partner with diverse nations to relieve suffering and protect innocent people.

To be successful in the future, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said we need to build partner capacity and strengthen relationships with friends and allies. In these areas the 314th Airlift Wing makes a daily impact and important contribution to our future security. Last year we trained 353 international students. Many of these students return home and deploy alongside United States forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others, through the training they receive, increase the capacity of their nation to interoperate with coalition forces, defend themselves, and decrease the burden on United States forces.

In addition to increased partner capacity, the relationships we build provide the greatest benefit. Many of our students become senior leaders in their nation’s armed forces. Their experience at Little Rock Air Force Base, the training they receive and the friends they make form a lasting bond that enables future cooperation and mutual respect. Our student immersion programs provide an understanding of American democratic institutions, culture and life in the heartland of our country that strengthen our common bonds. We build the relationships through which Little Rock AFB is known around the world.

As the foundation of Combat Airlift, the 314th Airlift Wing has a global reach which increases our nation’s ability to work with allies and partners in the cause of freedom.


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