Gen. Moseley talks to cadets about leadership and its effects
Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley spoke to the Corps of Cadets today on leadership in McAlister Field House as part of the Greater Issues Series.
“Some of America’s greats have spoken here in front of the Military College of South Carolina, but I’m not sure any of them had the challenge that I’ve got today of being the key element standing between the Corps and spring break,” Moseley joked to the audience.
A native of Texas, Moseley assists the Air Force chief of staff in organizing, training and equipping more than 710,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian airmen serving the United States and overseas. He leads the Air Staff and ensures force readiness and continued innovation.
Moseley, who has served as the combined forces air component commander for the country’s last two military campaigns, shared two stories that he felt demonstrated the quality of people serving in the armed forces and the effects of the country’s actions in Iraq.
While flying outside of Baghdad on board a KC-135 tanker, Moseley met a 22-year-old woman, who served as the aircraft’s boom operator—someone who refuels the tanks of fighter planes in mid-flight. When an F-16 fighter returned with one GUB12 (a bomb with guidance support system), she radioed the pilot, asking him why he still had a bomb on his plane.
When the pilot responded that he was running out of gas, the young woman told him, “‘I’m going to give you that gas. Get back out there, and drop that bomb.’ ”
“And I share that with you,” Moseley said, “because here’s a kid who, five days after she became mission ready or combat capable in her weapon system, deployed, and in 45 days flew 47 combat missions and wasn’t flinching on this at all. She refueled Marine aircraft, Navy aircraft, British aircraft, Australian aircraft, U.S. Air Force aircraft, Guard aircraft, Reserve aircraft, and at the end of all this, she said, ‘Sir, I couldn’t imagine a place I’d rather be. I grew up in an Air Force family, I grew up doing this, I intend to do this for as long as I can.’ With people like that, and with people like you, we can’t go wrong.”
Moseley told another story about an Air Force nurse who was treating civilians at an Army medical unit in Northern Iraq when an elderly gentleman with a young girl approached her. Talking through a translator, the man told the nurse that he wanted her to look at his granddaughter’s eyes. The nurse told him that she was not a doctor but would do whatever she could to help out until a doctor could see the little girl, but the man still insisted. “ ‘No, I want you to look at her eyes. . . I want you to look into my granddaughter’s eyes because today she has the look of freedom.’ ”
Concluding his speech, Moseley said, “Today little girls can go to school in Afghanistan. Today there’s a constitution being worked out in Afghanistan, and women participated in that. And today little boys can go to school in Afghanistan and at the age of 10 or 11, they are not handed rifles. And things are better in Iraq today also. Schools are open. Clinics, hospitals are open The cities are open. There’s power. Public utilities are beginning to come back. And last week, the petroleum exporting capacity of 2.5 or 2.7 million barrels a day passed over pre-hostility levels. And because of people like you, people in Iraq and Afghanistan now are not living under a very heavy dark wet oppressive blanket.”
Since it was established in 1954, the Greater Issues Series has brought presidents, heads of state, scholars, diplomats, journalists and distinguished business and military leaders to Charleston and The Citadel.