Lt. Gen. James Kowalski, US Strategic Command’s deputy commander, became the first inductee of Air Force Global Strike Command’s Order of the Sword during a ceremony at Barksdale AFB, La., according to a release. Kowalski served as AFGSC commander from January 2011 to October 2013. The major command activated in August 2009 to oversee the Air Force’s nuclear-capable bomber force and Minutemen III ICBMs. The Order of the Sword is the highest honor and tribute the command’s enlisted corps can bestow upon an officer or civilian counterpart in recognition of their contributions to the welfare of the enlisted airmen. “It’s hard for me to receive this and hear all of the accolades because I honestly was just very lucky,” said Kowalski during his Nov. 6 induction ceremony. “I was lucky to end up in the Air Force and to end up being in positions where I was taught and mentored by great [noncommissioned officers] and senior NCOs,” he said. CMSgt. Terry West, AFGSC command chief, called Kowalski “truly a leader among leaders, an airman among airmen.”
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.