President Barack Obama has nominated Air Force Vice Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein to be the 21st chief of staff of the Air Force, succeeding Gen Mark A. Welsh III, who has served in the position since 2012, according to a press release citing U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter.
“I’m extremely humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force’s 21st chief of staff. If confirmed, I pledge to serve our Airmen and their families unwavering and honor our remarkable heritage and legacy of integrity, service and excellence,” Goldfein said in a statement.
Goldfein entered the Air Force in June 1983 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions. He currently serves as the vice chief of staff, where he presides over the Air Staff and serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Requirements Oversight Council and Deputy Advisory Working Group.
“I am pleased to support the nomination of General David Goldfein as our next chief of staff,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “General Goldfein possesses the experience and vision needed to address dynamic global challenges and increasing military demand. He knows how to build and sustain key partnerships, has important war fighting experience, and will exercise the critical judgement required to balance our manpower and resources as we shape tomorrow’s Air Force. There is not a better person to lead our Airmen into the next century of air power dominance.”
Prior to his current position, Gen Goldfein was the director of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon in Washington, DC, where he assisted the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in fulfilling his responsibilities as the principal military adviser to the president and secretary of defense.
“Dave Goldfein is an Airman who epitomizes warrior leadership, and that’s exactly what our Air Force deserves,” Welsh said. “He connects deeply with Airmen, he supports their families relentlessly, and he absolutely recognizes the criticality of our service’s mission.”
Goldfein is a command pilot with more than 4,200 flying hours in the T-37 Tweet, T-38 Talon, F-16C/D Fighting Falcon, F-117A Nighthawk, MQ-9 Reaper, and MC-12W. He has flown combat missions in operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Allied Force, and Enduring Freedom. Goldfein has received numerous awards for his military service including the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross with Valor device and oak leaf cluster.
Goldfein was an F-16 pilot shot down over Serbia in 1999 before being rescued in a mission that had the rescue helicopter take fire and sustain five bullet holes in it, according to a report by AirForceTimes.