By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez
WASHINGTON (July 29, 2002) -- As Air Force leaders continue to make transformation a top priority, they have not forgotten that the service’s most important asset is people.
“Very few people, unless they run large organizations, realize the most expensive and valued resource you have is your people,” said Secretary of the Air Force Dr. James G. Roche in a recent interview taped with Air Force Television News.
“In our business, if we lose a mechanic with 14 years experience in radar, we can't go and hire someone from another air force,” Roche said. “We have to grow another one. It's unbelievably expensive.
“Each of these people are highly valued resources,” he said. “That's why we're adamant about how we house our personnel, our promotion system, and our education system.”
What do Air Force people possess that make them so valuable in senior leaders’ eyes? According to Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. John P. Jumper, it is dedication to duty.
“Nobody asked me any questions about Stop-Loss or, ‘Why am I here? When am I going home?’” Jumper said of those serving in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. “I saw some magnificent airmen out there doing unbelievable things.
“I recall a young (civil engineer) officer, commanding this unit building a giant ramp over there in the (Persian Gulf) region,” Jumper said. “It turns out he was National Guard. He worked for a highway department in one of our states.
“There was no way we were going to pry that guy out of uniform until that job was done. And he didn't care how long it took; he was so proud he was going to stay there until it was finished.
“I've been doing this for 36 years now,” Jumper said, “and every time I (visit with airmen in the field) I get surprised all over again at the level of commitment and dedication.”