Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh is retiring July 1, ending a nearly 40-year Air Force career, spokesman Ed Gulick told Air Force Magazine. The service did not immediately announce his successor. Welsh took over from retired Gen. Norton Schwartz in August 2012, and during his career commanded US Air Forces in Europe; served as vice commander of Air Education and Training Command; as associate director of the central intelligence for military affairs, and as Commandant of Cadets at the Air Force Academy. Welsh, who flew A-10s and F-16s operationally, was a commander at the group and wing level, held numerous staff jobs, and attended the Army Command and General Staff College.
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.