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NEWS | May 16, 2017

Rock returns to alma mater, commissions future AF leaders

By Senior Airman Stormy Archer 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, TEXAS -- Living without fear was the central theme as Lt. Gen. Anthony Rock, Secretary of the Air Force Inspector General, spoke to 17 commissioning lieutenants May 12 at the University of Texas San Antonio.


Rock, a San Antonio native, graduated from UTSA 35 years ago and joined the Air Force through Officer Training School at the Medina Annex of then Lackland Air Force Base.


“Why we serve and why we come into the Air Force is foundational to our beliefs; it is part of our values,” he said. “The most important value is the purpose of our service, and that is to keep America safe. Frankly, I like to focus on the freedom from fear. Of all the freedoms we have, our Air Force is focused on that and making sure Americans, our society and its citizens can live free from fear.”


During his visit to San Antonio, Rock also acted as the Basic Military Training graduation reviewing official for 606 new enlisted recruits.


“There is no greater mission than growing the future generation of military leaders,” Rock said. “For me, this week has been an opportunity to give back. To be here 35 years after my graduation and take these 17 young officers and hundreds of junior enlisted Airmen as they begin their careers… it gets back to the purpose of my service and purpose of our mission to help grow our replacements.”


All these Airmen have the privilege of officially joining the Air Force during the year of its 70th anniversary.


“Entering during our 70th anniversary is a milestone in itself because it is one of the youngest services and has been changing the game since [its creation],” said 2nd Lt. Jahvon Holmes. “I think it is great to be part of the history being made by the Air Force every day.”


Holmes, also a native of San Antonio who will enter Undergraduate Pilot Training, is following in the footsteps of his father, grandfather and sisters who share military ties.


“The military is a family tradition,” Holmes said. “Most of my family has served in the Army; I wanted to be the first to do something different, so I become an Air Force officer. This experience has helped me grow as a person and prepared me to lead with a servant mentality.”


Being generations apart, Rock noted there were both differences and similarities between his graduating class and the group of Airmen before him today.


“These new Airmen are so much better than we were during our time,” Rock stated. “I look at these BMT graduates and young cadets and I think of their qualifications as they step into their Air Force careers. They are so much more technologically savvy. They have an intellectual curiosity and appetite to learn. These are the right kind of leaders who will help defend America in a new era, in a new kind of warfare.


“The thing we have in common between our generations is our drive,” he said. “We have the same hunger and desire to become part of something bigger than ourselves and serve our nation. As I approach the end of my career, I realize I have a lot less time ahead of me than I have behind. I have two grandsons for whom I am counting on these Airmen to keep free from fear, and I am confident they will do so.”