AFSOC in two words: Humble Competence

  • Published
  • By Lt. Gen. Brad Webb
  • Commander, Air Force Special Operations Command

As Dawna and I prepare to leave Air Force Special Operations Command, I’ve become a bit reflective as you might imagine given the number of years we’ve served in this command. All of this reflection, however, can be summed up with the following: AFSOC is the finest special operations aviation force in the world...and, it’s because of her people. AFSOC is ready, relevant and resilient today because of our culture and values. We hold dear to SOF Truth Number One — Humans are more important than Hardware. Air Commandos prove it every day!

AFSOC has a rich historical culture and a firm values-based foundation. To coin the phrase our “just former” Secretary used to describe us — AFSOC has humble competence! I like that...a lot! World War II hero, Lt Col Dick Cole, who recently passed away at the ripe age of 103, epitomized these traits. Dick was the last surviving member of the Doolittle Raiders, co-pilot for Jimmy Doolittle himself. He went on to serve with excellence helping establish the First Air Commando Group among many other contributions. He laid the foundational character of humble competence for Air Commandos and we carry this legacy to this very day!

Easily one of my proudest moments as AFSOC commander was witnessing our President present the Medal of Honor to the family of Master Sergeant John Chapman, the first such decoration given to an Air Force member for action since Vietnam. The ceremony was conducted shortly after other Air Commandos risked all to help rescue 12 children and their coach trapped deep inside a cave in Thailand. All the while, Air Commandos continually flew some of the most complex and demanding special operations missions around the globe. We are engaged in conflict, in working with allies and partners, and responding to humanitarian relief operations ... with the humble competence that is our hallmark. Being exceptional is simply what we do.

AFSOC has accomplished and is still accomplishing much in countering terrorism, but now our Nation requires us to focus as well on great power competition. So, and as this will come as no surprise, Air Commandos, right now, are exceptionally balancing demands across the spectrum of conflict to ensure we are ready and relevant. Additionally, we remain focused on taking care of our people with robust Preservation of the Force and Family programs to enhance further our resiliency. The “Three R’s” — Readiness, Relevance, Resiliency — will serve us well moving forward.

Yes, I am an Air Commando through and through. But, I am also an Airman to the core! Dawna and I are thrilled to be moving to Air Education and Training Command — The First Command — to further instill the culture and values that we Airmen hold dear. It has been a distinct honor and absolute privilege to serve as the 11th commander of Air Force Special Operations Command. Keep your ear to the ground with respect to The First Command...you might just hear that phrase, humble competence, again!