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NEWS | July 26, 2023

ACC commander accepts Order of the Sword induction invitation

By Air Combat Command Public Affairs Staff Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command receives an invitation to the Order of the Sword
ACC commander accepts Order of the Sword induction invitation
U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly (left), commander of Air Combat Command receives an invitation to the Order of the Sword and a hand-made memento from ACC’s Command Chief Master Sgt. John G. Storms (right), at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, July 24th, 2023. The acceptance of this induction will make Kelly the tenth ACC commander to receive such an acknowledgment from ACC enlisted personnel. (USAF Photo by: Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte)
Photo By: Staff Sgt. Dana Tourtellotte
VIRIN: 230724-F-JG883-1051

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. -- The commander of Air Combat Command General Mark Kelly accepted the invitation for the Order of the Sword on 24 Jul 2023.

The Order of the Sword is the highest honor the U.S. Air Force enlisted force can bestow upon a leader. During a gathering of command section directorates, ACC Command Chief Master Sgt John Storms, welcomed Kelly into the Order of the Sword.

Kelly will be the tenth ACC commander who has earned the honor of being recognized by the command’s enlisted members as a “leader among leaders” and an “Airman among Airmen.”

Storms, polled the enlisted leaders from ACC’s wings to get the opinion if Kelly had earned the honor by dedicating his efforts to strengthening the enlisted corps during his time as the commander.

“When we looked at the totality of General Kelly’s work and the positive impact it made on the enlisted force, induction into the Order of the Sword was a unanimous decision from across the command,” said Storms.

Some of the reasons that Kelly was so unanimously supported included his efforts in the following [not all-inclusive list]:

• Advocated to delay the arbitrary 50% manpower reduction in the Tactical Air Patrol Party career field

• Advocated to have Air Force Personnel Center honor the agreement for enlisted pilots to receive personalized attention and care retraining options

• Secured $1.5 million dollars from AFWERX for development of a fitness app for women’s post-pregnancy fitness

• Implemented ACC’s Lead Wing concept - drives more predictable deployment cycles for Airmen

• Support of Sword Athena working group of volunteers from across Air Combat Command to identify, tackle, and propose solutions to female and family centric barriers to readiness.

“I know this moment is supposed to be about honoring me, but I want to boomerang the limelight back to my enlisted folks,” said Kelly. “[Other nations] say they aren’t envious of our F-22’s or our new airplanes, they’re not envious of infrastructure, [what] they’re envious of [is]our professionalized enlisted corp.”

The Order of the Sword is patterned after two orders of chivalry founded during the Middle Ages in Europe, the Royal Order of the Sword and the Swedish Military Order of the Sword, both of which are still in existence. The noncommissioned officer corps was established early in the twelfth century. In 1522, King Gustavus I of Sweden bid his commissioned noblemen to appoint officers to serve him. The people became noncommissioned officers who would honor their leader and pledge their loyalty by ceremoniously presenting him with a sword. The sword, a symbol of truth, justice, and power rightfully used, served as a token for all to see and know that here was a leader.

The official ceremony for the Order of the Sword induction is scheduled for Aug 30, 2023.