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Maj Gen Smolen speaks to Airmen at Andrews

ANDREWS AFB, Md. -- The Air Force District of Washington commander held a commander's call Jan. 30 at the base theater to explain several upcoming events for AFDW bases. 

''We have a unique mission in the AFDW, and it's an important one," said Maj. Gen. Robert L. Smolen, AFDW commander. ''We're the only Air Force command whose day-to-day mission is focused on the continental United States."

General Smolen talked about several of his plans, but spent time discussing the headquarters AFDW move to Andrews from Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.

The relocation of AFDW to Andrews is strategic in nature due to its proximity to the nation's capital and the availability of runways at Andrews to support contingency operations across the National Capital Region.

''So, coming out here to where we have the flight line gives us an opportunity to be far more effective in response," he said.

Improvements to local area school systems was also emphasized in the commander's call.

General Smolen is personally directing this effort, said James A. Wolffe, AFDW director of staff.

''He has made it his top quality-of-life initiative for the command," said Mr. Wolffe. ''He is personally meeting with community leaders, including Dr. John Deasy, Prince George's County Schools chief executive officer."

''We are studying a range of options that involve both Andrews and Bolling Air Force Bases," he said. ''It could range from establishing a Department of Defense school on one or both of the bases to creating charter schools, to partnering in new ways with the Prince George's County schools. The goal is to ensure that every child on both bases has access to high-quality, free education. Our Airmen deserve nothing less for their children."

Currently, Bolling and Anacostia Naval Annex servicemembers bus many of their children to schools in Virginia, said General Smolen.

''It's a much more severe problem at Bolling where virtually none of the people living on the base send their children to the local schools," said the general.

The general answered several questions and commented on other topics such as the privatization of base housing, Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century, Force Shaping and the changes in servicemembers time on station requirements.
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