Jewish U.S. Air Force Chief: on Tuesday the Pentagon announced that it had appointed General David L. Goldfein to succeed incumbent US Air Force Chief of Staff, General Mark Welsh. Welsh is set to retire in July. Gen. Goldfein will become the second Jew to command the U.S. Air Force.
With more than three decades of serving in the USAF, Goldfein has built an impressive record both as a pilot and officer.
“I’m extremely humbled by the nomination to serve as the Air Force’s 21st chief of staff, ” Goldfein said in an Air Force release. “If confirmed, I pledge to serve our airmen and their families unwaveringly and honor our remarkable heritage and legacy of integrity, service and excellence.”
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Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James and Welsh also lauded Goldfein’s selection in the release.
“Gen. Goldfein possesses the experience and vision needed to address dynamic global challenges and increasing military demand, ” James said. “He knows how to build and sustain key partnerships, has important warfighting experience, and will exercise the critical judgment 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 airpower dominance.”
“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. Most importantly, he and [his wife] Dawn understand the remarkable privilege they’ve been afforded in serving the nation.”
Goldfein is a veteran of the 1990-91 Gulf War, the 1998-1999 Kosovo War, and the war in Afghanistan. He flew combat missions in both the F-117 stealth fighter and F-16 Flying Falcon.
During a mission over the former Yugoslavia in 1999, Goldfein was shot down over enemy territory. Trapped behind enemy lines, Goldfein snuck across Serbian farms, hiding from enemy patrols, until he was able to reach the extraction point.
With enemy forces closing in, a rescue mission managed to save Goldfein, extracting him in the middle of a heavy firefight. The helicopter which recovered Goldfein was struck at least five times by enemy fire during the rescue operation.
In 2007, he told the El Paso Times that he sends the pararescuemen who rescued him a bottle of Scotch — “single malt, good quality” — every year to show his appreciation.
“We never know when some young airman is going to risk everything to come pull us out,” Goldfein told the Times.
A former naval aviator, McCain was also shot down in combat. McCain was eventually captured and held prisoner in a Vietnamese prisoner of war camp.
“He has an excellent bio and an excellent reputation, ” the Arizona Senator said. “From everything I’ve heard, he is pretty impressive.”
In 1994, U.S. President Bill Clinton appointed a Jewish admiral, Jeremy Boorda, chief of naval operations. The highest post in the U.S. Navy. But Boorda committed suicide after doubt was raised on the validity of the combat ribbons he received during the Vietnam War.
According to Air Force Times Goldfein comes from a military family with a long history of service. His father served in the Air Force, as did his brother, retired Maj. Gen. Stephen Goldfein.
He also has a daughter currently serving in the Air Force. His wife, Dawn, is a school teacher and has served on the board of Officers’ Spouses Clubs around the world, according to her bio on the Military Child Education Coalition website.
He also wrote a book, published in 2001, called “Sharing Success, Owning Failure: Preparing to Command in the 21st Century Air Force.”