RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany: The U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander recognized the contributions of 86th Airlift Wing Airmen to the U.S. military, as well as to all of Europe during his visit here March 2.

Though a frequent customer of many of the services the wing provides due to his residency here, Gen. Roger A. Brady’s visit to the wing this time was special as it focused on recognizing various wing Airmen and relaying key messages regarding the future of the force.

“Ramstein is, in my humble opinion, the most critical installation that the U.S. Air Force has.” he said during the wing all-call. “Anywhere you want to go, whether you’re moving people or cargo, it comes through here.”

He also applauded the wing’s important mission of handling the high volume of distinguished visitors. While supporting the DV mission is critical, the general went further to acknowledge the great work being done across the wing.

“Things are going pretty darn well; we are winning our unfair share of awards,” he said in reference to the command’s success throughout the last year. “I am supremely grateful for the opportunity to work with you folks.”

As part of his visit, the general spoke to a wing-wide audience about the “challenging times” the service faces in terms of the budget, the high-deployment tempo, and ensuring a culture of compliance, accountability and safety.

“What that means to us as we deliver the capabilities we have over the battlespace … is that we have to do some things smarter,” he said, adding that although wing personnel may not feel the pinch during the current fiscal year, Airmen can expect tighter times ahead, and begin looking for efficiencies now. “There is no white space on your calendar … you’re either deployed, about to deploy, or being inspected, and we need to be looking at those things that maybe don’t make sense anymore.”

Accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Pamela Derrow, USAFE command chief, the general’s visit included calls with commanders, chiefs and even a special stop to one unit actively pursuing that exact goal of process efficiency. Like many units across the wing, the 86th Comptroller Squadron has taken on the AFSO 21 challenge and is currently participating in an initiative to establish better, smarter ways of doing business.

“What our finance experts are currently doing is just one example of the many behind-the-scenes efforts occurring across the wing in terms of continual process improvement,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Dillon, 86th AW commander. “As one of our customers, we chose to highlight this effort to General Brady to show him what amazing successes our individual Airmen are having when given the opportunities to think outside the box and embrace change for the better.”

But the day wasn’t just about refining current processes; General Brady also spoke about future missions in store for the base.

“The Air Force is creating a deployment transition center for those people working outside the wire,” he said. “We’re working with the mission support group and the medical group in an effort to make sure we’re taking care of our folks.”

Though still in the planning phase, the intent of the center would be to provide a several-day transition point for redeployers on their way to their home station.

By nature of proximity, the general often interacts with wing members and units, but this visit offered a unique opportunity for wing Airmen to receive a direct vector and feedback on their efforts and was greatly appreciated throughout the wing.

“There’s a lot going on throughout the wing and on Ramstein, and even more going on throughout USAFE, so it was a priceless opportunity to not only meet face-to-face with our command leadership, but also to showcase some of our Airmen as well,” said Chief Master Sgt. Vernon Butler, 86th AW command chief. “We’re grateful to know that all the hard work our Airmen perform each and every day is duly recognized by those we work hard to support.”

General Brady has been the commander of USAFE since January of 2008.