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Eighth Air Force commander rallies Airmen at all call

Eighth Air Force and J-GSOC commander Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere speaks to Airmen about bomber operations for 2018 and recaps the past year's successes.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, recaps 2017 bomber operations and foreshadows what's to come for bomber and J-GSOC members in the year to come. After the Air Forces Strategic reorganization in October, the J-GSOC stood up incorporating joint services and the ICBM mission set. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

Eighth Air Force and J-GSOC commander Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere speaks to Airmen about bomber operations for 2018 and recaps the past year's successes.

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere, Eighth Air Force and Joint-Global Strike Operations Center commander, recaps 2017 bomber operations and foreshadows what's to come for bomber and J-GSOC members in the year to come. After the Air Forces Strategic reorganization in October, the J-GSOC stood up incorporating joint services and the ICBM mission set. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

There was much discussion at last week’s Eighth Air Force Commander’s Call, as Maj. Gen. Thomas Bussiere highlighted the unit’s current and future operations tempo, recent Air Forces Strategic reorganization and recognized The Mighty Eighth’s top performers.

 

“This has been a big year for our Air Force and for us here at Eighth Air Force,” said Bussiere, referencing the unit’s many undertakings and accomplishments.

 

Two thousand seventeen marked the 75th Anniversary of the historic numbered air force, which was full of heritage tributes such as all-bomber flyovers, a headquarters building dedication (Jimmy Doolittle) and several events honoring past and present veterans

 

This year the NAF also implemented a new flight commander’s course, which focused on developing leadership skills for officers early in their career, as well as introduced the first Eighth Air Force Operational Security Symposium.

 

A topic that is near and dear to my heart, said Bussiere.

 

On the operational front, two B-2s traveled across the globe to successfully strike two terrorist training camps in Libya, operators from the 625th Strategic Operations Squadron performed the first airborne launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile since realigning under Eighth Air Force, and B-52 crews continue to meet combatant commander requirements in the Middle East.

 

“B-52 crews are setting records in CENTCOM and at lightning pace,” said the commander.

 

The list of Mighty Eighth operational achievements is a long one, but there is still more on the horizon for the bomber and nuclear command and control unit.

 

“We’ve accomplished great things this year, and I expect we will be even better in 2018,” said Bussiere.

 

To aid in this effort, Bussiere also explained the recent Air Forces Strategic reorganization that took place in October. An organizational change designed to streamline the U.S.’s nuclear warfighting structure and resulted in the standup of the Joint-Global Strike Operations Center (J-GSOC).

 

Bussiere, commander of both Eighth Air Force and the J-GSOC, stated that command relationships within Eighth Air Force didn’t change with the reorg. Meaning, all of the active-duty and reserve bomber wings remain the same and under Eighth Air Force.

 

As for the J-GSOC, “the center is meant to be the operational arm of global strike, melding all of the mission sets,” said Bussiere. It is also responsible for the day-to-day monitoring and tracking of forces.

 

While modernization priorities such as the long-range stand-off weapons (LRSO), B-21 Raider and National Airborne Operations Center (NAOC) Recapitalization program will remain with AFGSC headquarters staff, the defining of operational requirements for new systems would eventually integrate into the center, according to the commander.

 

One new element of the J-GSOC includes the Joint Nuclear Operations Center or JNOC. Roles and responsibilities that previously fell under the individual U.S. Strategic Command task forces, are now consolidated into one location.

 

“We have a phenomenal capability here,” said Bussiere, referring to the new J-GSOC. “We’ll continue to grow as a team while honoring our heritage.”

 

The tradition of honoring and recognizing outstanding achievement within The Mighty Eighth continues, and this week’s commander’s call was no exception.

 

Before concluding the gathering, Bussiere publically recognized several of the Mighty Eighth’s top performers:

 

Decorations

Staff Sgt. Erin Trower – two Air Force Achievement Medals

 

AFGSC Awards

Staff Sgt. Erin Trower – 2016 AFGSC Media Contest, 1st Place Op Documentary Photo

 

8th Air Force Quarterly Awards

(First quarter)

FGO: Maj. Brandon McSwain

Civilian Cat I: Ms. Angela Hearon

Civilian Cat II: Mr. Don Mooring

 

(Second quarter)

Civilian Cat II: Mr. Douglas Skelton

 

(Third quarter)

Airman: Senior Airman Rabekka Orozco

NCO: Staff. Sgt. Garrett Allen

FGO: Maj. Chris Duhon

Civilian Cat II: Mr. Jason McVinney

 

Diamond Sharp Awards

April: Airman 1st Class Miranda Bowen

May: Airman 1st Class Christopher Engelmann

June: Airman 1st Class Shane McCarthy

July: Senior Airman Eric Kimble

August: Airman 1st Class John Augusta

Sept: Airman Marcus Fisher

Oct: Airman 1st Class Lindsey Tharp

 

20 Years Civil Service Award

Mr. Bill McIntosh