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8th Air Force Commander Advises Students about Commitment

November 20, 2015
Maj. Gen. Richard Clark shakes hands with LSUS Chancellor Larry Clark

8th AF Commander Advises Students to'Commit to Something Bigger Than Yourself'

'"Say it..., do it..., own it...." That was the advice from Maj. Gen. Richard Clark Friday, Nov. 20 when he spoke about the three phases of commitment during the Chancellor's Leadership Speaker Series in the University Center Theater at LSUS.

Maj. Gen. Clark advised the mostly student audience that making theircommitment public, taking the first step toward that commitment, and owning it by doing what it takes, would allow them to reach their goal. "I believe you can apply that to anything...but the only way it is going to work is by committing to something bigger than yourself."

The commander of the 8th Air Force Base and a pilot with more than 4,200 flight hours, Clark spoke without notes and talked about a number of experiences, including his time as a squadron commander during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He told of the heroism of a young-and-inexperienced bomber crew of four, "average age probably 27." The crew memberscompleted their first bombing assignment on the second day of the war, but went further by saving some 100 Army troops trapped on the ground. Theyrisked their own lives by using fuel necessary to return to base.

The story had a happy ending--and medals later--for the young crew, which was, in turn, saved by a KC135 tanker that flew into Iraq to refuel their bomber."That is the story from my career that most describes what commitment is all about," Maj. Gen. Clark said. "It was a purpose bigger than themselves. It was about the war they signed up to fight and about the Constitution they swore to defend....For all of us there's always something bigger than ourselves."

Following his remarks, Maj. Gen. Clark opened the session for questions about any topic, personal or job-related. Questions were about biological weapons, potential terrorist targets in the U.S., the modern-day battleground,and how he handled making tough decisions.

"It's a much more complex world we live in," he said. "There is not amilitary-only solution....What we have to count on is every government agency coordinating with the military" in order to fight what he called an "asymetric war with asymetric weapons." He also advised the audience to "stay vigilant all the time. Ifyou see things that don't look normal, tell someone."


Media Contact: Chancellor Larry Clark, 318-797-5200, or Lynn Stewart, 318-797-5108

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