The Air Force’s enlisted corps nominated Secretary Michael Donley for induction into the Order of the Sword, the highest honor that enlisted airmen can bestow upon the service’s senior civilians and officers. Then-CMSAF James Roy presented Donley with the nomination on Jan. 23 at JB Andrews, Md., during a meeting with former Chief Master Sergeants of the Air Force and current chief master sergeants, according to a Jan. 28 Andrews release. “You have always shown care and concern for enlisted men and women,” said Roy. “This group—these chiefs—represent all the enlisted men and women across the United States Air Force, and we are very, very proud of you as our leader,” added Roy, who stepped down as CMSAF on the following day and is retiring from the Air Force. Donley said he was “deeply honored and humbled” to receive the nomination. “More importantly,” he added, “I’m honored to daily serve alongside the finest enlisted corps our Air Force has ever seen.” Although the honor is commonly given to leaders who are retiring or moving to a new position, Air Force spokeswoman Maj. Megan Schafer told the Daily Report on Tuesday that the Order of the Sword can come at any time deemed appropriate and “should not be considered part of the retirement process.” She said the Air Force “has nothing to announce at this time” regarding a potential retirement date for Donley, who has served as Air Force Secretary since October 2008. She said Donley “remains focused on his duties” and “his responsibility to ensure the Air Force remains an agile, flexible, and effective force.” (Andrews report by SMSgt. Chris Vadnais)
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.