Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein presided over the ceremony and emphasized the importance of the AETC mission and he commended members of the command for their efforts.
He listed Pilot Training Next, force development, a campaign of learning, squadron commander school and the overhaul of the officer and enlisted promotion systems as “future game changers for our Air Force and joint teams.”
“This command has fundamentally changed how we develop Airmen to deliver joint warfighting excellence,” Goldfein said.
During his remarks, Goldfein spoke about Webb’s distinguished career, highlighting his career, as well as his leadership across the Air Force and joint special operations communities.
Expressing his confidence in Webb’s ability to lead AETC, Goldfein referred to Webb as the obvious choice for commanding AETC.
“He’s a mature, calm, seasoned and focused warfighter who has participated in almost every combat operation we have waged across the globe, as a special operator,” Goldfein said. “From humanitarian relief for Hurricane Andrew, to saving a downed pilot behind enemy lines in Bosnia, he actually hasn’t missed a fight. Many know him as our point man for the takedown of Osama bin Laden. I cannot wait to watch this command flourish under your steady and quietly confident hand.”
Taking the podium to speak to his command for the first time, Webb talked about the command’s people and the responsibility to defeat our country’s adversaries.
“Achieving victory takes hard work, training, good equipment, and most importantly, it takes unique people,” Webb said. “Air Education and Training Command, the First Command, for our Air Force, simply must arm our Airmen to out-think, out-perform, out-partner, and out-innovate any potential adversary. We must do this with commitment to values because military prowess and economic might alone are not enough to secure our blessings of liberty. Our values, our character will be our guiding beacon. This is the mindset we must continue to instill here at the First Command, and we will.”
Prior to becoming the 34th commander in AETC’s history dating back to 1942, the 1984 Air Force Academy graduate and native of Austin, Texas, spent the previous two years leading Air Force Special Operations Command, overseeing approximately 19,500 active-duty, Reserve, Air National Guard and civilian professionals that make up the Air Force component of U.S. Special Operations Command.
Webb is a command pilot with more than 3,700 flying hours in the CV-22 Osprey, UH-1N Huey, MH-53 Pave Low, MC-130H Combat Talon II and MC-130P Combat Shadow, including 117 combat hours in Afghanistan, Iraq and Bosnia.
Among Webb’s career achievements is being named winner of the 1996 Cheney Award for most valorous flight of the year in a humanitarian effort when he was involved in the search and recovery efforts for then-Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown in Croatia in April of that year. Webb also showed leadership during "Operation Assured Response,” a non-combatant evacuation operation in which his MH-53 team helped evacuate 2,126 people from 76 countries from the fighting that was taking place in Monrovia, Liberia.
AETC includes the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces that oversee flying training and technical training, as well as Air University. The command operates more than 1,400 trainer, fighter and mobility aircraft at 23 wings, 10 bases and five geographically separated groups. It trains more than 293,000 students per year with about 61,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian and contractor personnel.