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Opinion | Time to acknowledge the success of Air Force secretary

Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson is currently flawlessly leading and exceptionally managing the most lethal Air Force in the world while maintaining overwhelming air dominance and unarguable space superiority.

In honor of Women’s History Month, on Thursday, March 7, I drafted a short note to be hand delivered to President Donald Trump when he arrived in Alabama Friday, March 8. In the note, I thanked the president for visiting our great state.

Additionally, I mentioned that we pray that the families in Lee County will make a speedy recovery from the devastating destruction, damage and significant loss of life. I requested prayer for our president and first lady as they guide our country.

Respectfully, also I advised Trump that our country needs Wilson. Further, I asked our president to seriously consider appointing Wilson as the first female secretary of defense.

Further, on Thursday, I contacted the Washington, D.C. offices of Alabama Congressmen Mike Rogers, Bradley Byrne, Mo Brooks and Martha Roby. Additionally, I notified the D.C. offices of U.S. Sens. Richard Shelby, Lindsey Graham and Richard Burr. Trump Alabama Campaign Chairman Perry Hooper, Jr., was notified.

On Friday, March 8 at about noon, Wilson tweeted, “Today I informed the President I will resign as Secretary of the Air Force to be President of the University of Texas at El Paso. It has been a privilege to serve with our Airmen—I am proud of the progress we have made to restore the readiness and lethality of the U.S. Air Force.”

Approximately two hours later, Trump tweeted, “Congratulations to Heather Wilson, who is the sole finalist to become the next President of University of Texas at El Paso effective September 1, 2019. Heather has done an absolutely fantastic job.”

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, stated, “We hit the lottery with gaining the Secretary of the Air Force – under her leadership we became a better U.S. Air Force and our Airmen will continue rowing hard, becoming even faster, smarter. As she takes her talent and leadership to my home state of Texas, I wish her the very best.”

“My greatest appreciation and thanks to Wilson for her premier leadership of the world’s greatest Airmen and Air Force,” said Undersecretary of the Air Force Matthew P. Donovan. “We wish her the Best at the University of Texas El Paso.”

Looking at Wilson’s long and distinguished biography, it reads as though she is within the 1 percent of the world population. Here is just a synopsis. Wilson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy and graduated third in her class.

As a Rhodes Scholar, Wilson earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at Oxford University in England. She was an Air Force officer for seven years.

The United States has had only one president who was a Rhodes Scholar: Bill Clinton.

Wilson has been a Member of the U.S. House Of Representatives for 11 years, representing the First District in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Further, she was president of South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, South Dakota. Madam secretary is also an instrument-rated private pilot.

The only Air Force Rhodes scholar that I have ever personally met was my former commander at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.  Lt. Gen. Bradley Hosmer later became the president of the Air Force Academy, and he was also the Air Force Inspector General at one point in his career. Hosmer finished first in his graduating class.

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If Wilson is not qualified to be the Secretary of Defense, then we may as well go ahead and shut the federal government down in Washington. Then, no one in America is qualified.

She is one of our fellow Air Force wingmen, and our Air Force motto and battle cry of always being there for our wingmen still rings true.

Our Air Force’s core values have given us the beliefs that our country owes us nothing. We so dearly owe our nation. We can never repay our country for all of the opportunities that we have received. From the rank of Airman Basic to Four-Star General and Secretary of the Air Force, everyone is important. All persons have skills, knowledge and abilities that can be and should be acknowledged and woven into accomplishing any mission.

Surely, our Air Force Secretary with all of her breadth of experience, training, expertise, knowledge, leadership skills and exceptional management characteristics and education, she is very qualified for a higher level position.

According to U.S. Air Force websites Wilson will be in her job until May 31. My hope is still that Trump will appoint Wilson as the first female secretary of defense, which would be a history making moment.

She has already been a university president. Obviously, her being a Rhodes Scholar, she will be the smartest person on the campus. I truly believe that our country needs Wilson in the position of Secretary of Defense. We must push her again to be the best that she can be, by challenging her and providing her with the most difficult tasks.

Many persons are concerned that someone with Wilson’s strengths and talents, may become bored with the easy stuff at a university. We still have high expectations for our secretary of the Air Force.

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I know I’m throwing the Hail Mary touchdown pass by hoping that she may be appointed and make history. Her last work day is still two months away. We still have time on the clock.

Remember also that Secretary Wilson has made visits to Montgomery. It was on her watch that we received the good news about the landing of the F-35s in Montgomery. It was her decision; she made the call.

Just as a matter of information, for some of our Air Force history buffs, from time to time, I still stay in contact with my former commander Gen. Tony McPeak. He was our former Air Force chief of staff and acting secretary of the Air Force.  I respectfully advised the general last week that our country needs Wilson in a higher level position, secretary of Defense.

McPeak used his influence to help bring the F-35s to our city. I share pictures of my front yard with him. I always end my text by telling him that I love him, and there is nothing he can do about it.

Regardless of the final outcome, I believe our nation should salute the 24th Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson.  We should thank their family for sharing her with our great country. Madam secretary, we’ve got your six. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for your very distinguished and highly outstanding service, as our Air Force Ambassador around the globe. We salute you.

Glenn Henry is retired from the U.S. Air Force. He has been a high school teacher and university adjunct professor. He has earned numerous Cisco IT certifications. He is a Certified Professional Ethical Hacker. He lives in Montgomery with his wife Teresa.


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