Air Force leaders discuss strategy, policy at CORONA South 2019

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Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein greets former 1st Lt. Bob McClintock, a World War II veteran, at a commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 6, 2019. Goldfein was joined by Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright and other senior leaders in recognizing nine World War II veterans who reside in the Tampa Bay community. (Air Force photograph by Wayne Clark)

Top Air Force leaders convened June 3-7, for the CORONA South summit at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida.

CORONA South allows senior leaders such as Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright to meet in-person with other Air Force commanders to discuss strategy and policy.

A pinnacle event for the week was the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, at the base theater on June 6. In front of a packed house, the 6th Air Mobility Wing and mission partners such as U.S. Special Operations Command and Marine Forces Central Command, honored nine World War II veterans from the Tampa Bay community for their valiant service. The event also garnered a live internet audience of tens of thousands.

“It’s an opportunity for us to acknowledge their service and sacrifice from 75 years ago,” said Col. Stephen Snelson, 6th AMW Commander.

MacDill Air Force Base joint service members present a flag during the 75th D-Day Commemoration to each World War II veteran in attendance at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 6, 2019. With Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright as guest speakers, MacDill AFB honored local World War II veterans who participated in the D-Day invasion, a monumental turning point in World War II. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Scott Warner)

Goldfein and Wright, both speakers at the ceremony, greeted each World War II veteran, hearing their first hand stories of D-Day.

“Today we celebrate and retell the heroic stories of the brave men and women who took a stand against oppression,” Goldfein said. “Emerging on the right side of history allowing this great experiment called democracy to flourish.”

During his speech, Goldfein related CORONA activities to warfare logistics and planning seen throughout time.

“While the tools and character of warfare have changed over the years, the nature of warfare remains constant,” Goldfein said. “History may not repeat, but it sure does rhyme now and then.”

Wright, the keynote speaker, recognized the sacrifice of those who took part in D-Day.

A Marine laughs with a World War II Marine Corps veteran before the 75th D-Day Commemoration at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., June 6, 2019. With Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright as guest speakers, MacDill AFB honored local World War II veterans who participated in the D-Day invasion, a monumental turning point in World War II. (Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Scott Warner)

“They offered themselves as the champions of liberty not just to protect an ideal, but to defend our way of life,” Wright said.

Wright explained how the ideals upheld by those who fought in World War II, often known as America’s “greatest generation” can be used in our day-to-day lives.

“They did what they committed to do, but did it with uncertainty of outcome,” Wright said. “They did it with a sense of duty in their hearts; they did not do it to be considered ‘great.’”

MacDill AFB aims to continue its commitment to excellence as a home for future CORONA South conferences.

CORONA South is one of the few opportunities senior leaders get to come together and discuss challenges the Air Force may encounter in wartime. MacDill AFB’s mission spanning two combatant commands uniquely positions the base to continue providing five-star support to the Air Force’s strategic planning requirements.