Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III will be keynote speaker for the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce’s 35th annual Armed Forces Banquet, set for 7 p.m. May 17 at the Sheraton Albuquerque Uptown, 2600 Louisiana NE.
“Hosting a speaker of Gen. Welsh’s caliber is a great honor for the Chamber,” said Terri Cole, Chamber president and CEO. “We are delighted that he will be able to join our community for one of our most important events of the year where we honor our nation’s military and veterans for all they have done for this country.”
Welsh, 61, is the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 690,000 active duty Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving stateside and overseas.
As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the President. He was nominated for the post by President Obama in May 2012.
Welsh was born in San Antonio, Texas, and joined the Air Force in June 1976 as a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. Immediately prior to his appointment, Welsh was commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe.
“Team Kirtland is really looking forward to general and Mrs. Welsh getting to meet our amazing airmen and their families,” said Col. Tom Miller, commander of Kirtland Air Force Base’s host unit, the 377th Air Base Wing. “It is a great opportunity to see them performing the mission, hear their stories and see firsthand the incredible support we receive from the Albuquerque community.”
Banquet co-emcees will be Cole and Sherman McCorkle, chairman and CEO of Sandia Science & Technology Park Development Corporation.
During the banquet, the chamber will present the Steve Schiff Kirtland Air Force Base Advocacy Award, which recognizes individuals who exemplify the late senator’s patriotism and commitment to Kirtland Air Force Base, and the Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez Veteran of the Year Award, which honors a local veteran for both military service and continuing contributions to our country’s military.
Tickets are $35 for active duty military, National Guard, Reserve and retired military, $50 for Chamber members and $75 for nonmembers. A 6 p.m. reception will precede the banquet.