Highly Decorated F-16 Combat Pilot Who Was Once Shot Down to Become New Air Force Head

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

Defense Secretary Ash Carter has announced the proposed pick to head up the United States Air Force after current Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh retires in July.

Gen. David Goldfein has been tapped to take Welsh’s place and brings a wealth of experience to the position. Goldfein has flown numerous combat missions over his multi-decade career.

Goldfein was shot down over Belgrade during Operation Allied Force in 1999. He ejected from his F-16 and landed in a field in Kosovo. He was recovered by a search and rescue team several hours later.

Goldfein also flew combat missions in Operation Desert Storm and most recently in Operation Enduring Freedom. He has over 4,000 flight hours on aircraft ranging from the F-16 fighter jet to the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter.

During his service, Goldfein has earned the Distinguished Flying Cross with valor device, the Legion of Merit and the Defense Distinguished Service Medal.

“I’m extremely humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force’s twenty first Chief of Staff,” Goldfein said in a statement. “If confirmed, I pledge to serve our Airmen and their families unwaveringly and honor our remarkable heritage and legacy of integrity, service, and excellence. I also look forward to joining my fellow service chiefs as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”

Goldfein will still have be confirmed by the Senate before taking on his new position.