PRINCE SULTAN AIR BASE, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia –
United States Central Command’s leadership team visited here Jan. 29, 2020.
U.S. Marine Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., commander of CENTCOM and U.S. Navy Fleet Master Chief James Herdel, CENTCOM senior enlisted leader, visited PSAB during a tour of installations in the combatant command’s area of responsibility. The visit marked McKenzie’s first to PSAB since assuming command of CENTCOM and the fifth stop in his tour of installations in the region over a two-week period.
The team’s visit to PSAB was an opportunity to showcase the strategic importance and operational depth provided by the recently recommissioned 378th Air Expeditionary Wing.
McKenzie began the visit with discussions with the Royal Saudi Air Force PSAB operations support commander, Brig. Gen. Nasser Mohammed al-dosri. During the talks, McKenzie reaffirmed the U.S. military’s commitment to coalition partners and to security and stability in the region.
“The roughly 3,000 personnel and significant assets operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at bases like PSAB are a key contributor to our collective efforts and underscore our commitment to defend partners and deter those who would do us or our partners harm,” McKenzie said. “Deterrence is born of capability and will. PSAB is key contributor to the capability part of that equation.”
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. John Walker, 378th AEW commander, echoed the CENTCOM commander’s message.
“PSAB embodies a major step toward CENTCOM’s goal of establishing operational depth in the theater of operations,” Walker said. “PSAB’s build-up not only reassures our partners and allies, it also provides decisive defense, deterrence, and response options in the region.”
Following the meeting, McKenzie joined Walker in a tour of several locations in the U.S. forces areas of the installation. The tour included an in-depth briefing on the evolution of PSAB and discussions with base leaders on the future of the U.S. military in the region.
“PSAB’s build-up is a testament to the hard working Soldiers and Airmen of the U.S. armed forces,” Walker said. “The establishment of our combat power here wasn’t contracted out, wasn’t built by a second or third party – it was built by American service members. I can’t think of a better recent example of our Joint Force expeditionary capabilities than what we’ve witnessed at PSAB, and I couldn’t be more proud to showcase our all-star team to the CENTCOM command team.”
While McKenzie focused on ensuring PSAB and Saudi partners had the resources and support to conduct the mission, Herdel joined U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brent Chadick, 378th AEW command chief, to discuss quality-of-life issues affecting the Airmen and Soldiers of PSAB. During their tour, they met with several Airmen, discussed their deployment experiences, some of the improvements they have made within the wing, and how they are supporting the overall mission.
The groups later rejoined to host an all-call addressing the majority of the Airmen on the installation. Afterward they hosted a lunch discussion with first-line supervisors of all ranks at the wing’s recently opened Sand Hut Dining Facility and recognized several of the installation’s superior performers.
“It’s important that the members I send into this AOR hear from the person giving the order directly,” McKenzie said. “Your help drives the mission forward. It also makes us more cohesive and efficient when we have highly motivated members, like the ones here at PSAB, to ensure that mission is a resounding success.”
The CENTCOM team will continue its tour of installations with the intent to underscore the U.S.’s commitment to regional security, the importance of military-to-military relationships with regional partners and the flexibility of American airpower.