AFGSC commander visits Raider Country

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Hannah Malone
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

Gen. Anthony Cotton, Air Force Global Strike Command commander, and his wife Marsha, visited here May 23-25, where they engaged with Airmen and members of the local community.

The visit to the 28th Bomb Wing afforded Cotton the opportunity to speak with the Airmen who perform the combat airpower mission every day. He was accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Melvina Smith, AFGSC command chief.

Cotton began his base tour by visiting with civic leaders.

The following day, Cotton met with junior enlisted Airmen and base leaders to answer questions and discuss current Air Force issues. He participated in command meetings and toured the Raiderwerx facility, Additive Manufacturing and Cold Spray units, as well as the 28th Munitions Squadron and the Community Center in base housing.

Cotton and Smith also hosted a base-wide all call to speak with Ellsworth Airmen. Here they discussed the global security landscape, long-range strike capabilities and the AFGSC lines of effort.

“You must remain focused on our four lines of effort: people, mission, modernization, and engagement,” Smith said. “Our people are at the forefront. We must ensure our people are trained, proficient, ready and focused on the mission so that we can continue to modernize and engage.”

During the visit, Cotton emphasized the important role that team Ellsworth plays with regards to the future B-21 Raider mission. He also spoke to the audience at the B-21 Groundbreaking ceremony, accompanied by Col. Joseph Sheffield, 28th Bomb Wing commander.

The B-21 is scheduled to arrive at Ellsworth within the next decade and will incrementally replace the B-1B Lancer as well as the B-2 Spirit. The aircraft is capable of performing both conventional and nuclear missions.

“We’re here today because our nation needs us to be here,” Cotton said. “Never before have we simultaneously faced two nuclear-capable near peers. Foundational to our nation’s strategic deterrence is our powerful and ready long-range strike force.”

During the ceremony, Cotton stressed the importance of AFGSC and how Strikers are key to ensuring the safety and security of our nation.

“We provide the bomber force for the free world,” Cotton said. “We’re building the nation’s bomber force, and it begins right here in the Black Hills of South Dakota.”