WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- With only days remaining in his service as the Air Force’s 21st Chief of Staff, Gen. David L. Goldfein was commemorated in a July 31 ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., and in the announcement that one of his quotes was etched into the Air Force Memorial’s Wall of Valor.
The memorial’s newest etching reads, “This is our sacred duty. When protecting Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines, we fly to the sound of the guns … or we die trying.”
“General Goldfein’s outsized impact goes beyond his achievements in aircraft development, new technologies, launch of the United States Space Force, or even revolutionary concepts like joint all-domain command and control,” said Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett who presided over the ceremony. “His greater legacy is in the thousands of men and women he has led, mentored and inspired.”
In his remarks to an audience that included Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Stephen Wilson; Chief of Space Operations, Gen. John Raymond, and a collection of other, socially distanced dignitaries, Goldfein acknowledged his good fortune and gave thanks to his wife, Dawn, for “her caring and loving heart,” and to others who helped him succeed.
“What an incredible honor to have an important declaration of obligation to our joint teammates forever engraved in the beautiful Air Force Memorial,” he said. “Dawn and I are thankful to have served with all of you together as Team 21.
“Dawn has not only been my best friend, she has been my teammate,” Goldfein said. “Last week we gathered for a zoom session with our old combat squadron and the story of the shoot down and rescue was retold -- it was Dawn’s courage and how she handled herself that truly inspired the squadron, so how appropriate that today Air University published her extraordinary book, sharing a military spouse's perspective. Dawn, more than anyone in my life, has given me a decided advantage.”
During his tenure, Goldfein has achieved some notable milestones, including the development of the B-21 Raider and the T-7A Red Hawk aircraft. Additionally, he pushed for innovative ways to improve readiness through the expansion of the Air Force’s multi-domain capability, reshaping the force to exist in an era of great power competition, and helping pave the way for ultimately increasing the number of squadrons from 312 to 386.
“For 37 years I have gotten up every morning, put on the uniform of my father,” he said. “Every day I am given the opportunity to work with the finest men and women on the planet, devoted to the same common cause and all focused on the same sacred duty.”
Friday’s ceremony was one of the first of events celebrating Goldfein’s 4-year tenure as the Air Force’s highest-ranking military officer. He formally steps down Aug. 6 and will be replaced by Gen. Charles (CQ) Brown, who will become the 22nd Air Force Chief of Staff.