As the Air Force Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) think tank in New York City this past year, I have had the privilege to share my experiences and tell the Air Force story in a city where military presence lacks. Besides meeting interesting business leaders, facilitating roundtable discussions and writing articles and op-eds, among the most interesting aspects of my fellowship are fulfilling requests to speak to many diverse groups in the city.
One of those recent opportunities that piqued my interest came through Air Force Public Affairs channels in New York City in the form of a request to address the Reserve Officers Association of French in the USA (www.ACREFEU.org).
Once I accepted I began preliminary Internet research on the organization. After translating the organization's web page, I learned that "most members are simply interested in international affairs and defense" and "to build friendships with their comrades of the American Forces." I then knew exactly what I would say to them!
Before coming to CFR, I was the commander of the 100th Air Refueling Wing at RAF Mildenhall, England. On the evening of March 18, 2011, I received a call from U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, General Mark A. Welsh III. The call was an assignment to depart the next morning to survey and stand up the 406th Air Expeditionary Wing at a Western European base that would conduct combat operations that evening over Libya we came to know as Operation Odyssey Dawn.