HONORING LTG THOMAS J. KECK; Congressional Record Vol. 148, No. 62
(Senate - May 15, 2002)

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[Pages S4384-S4385]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                      HONORING LTG THOMAS J. KECK

 Ms. LANDRIEU. Mr. President, I rise today to honor a member of 
our military who has faithfully served the United States for over 30 
years. LTG Thomas J. Keck is to retire this Friday and I think it is 
appropriate that we honor him here on the Senate floor today.
  Lieutenant General Keck graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1969. 
After completing flight training, he was sent to Vietnam. While there, 
he flew B-52 missions over North Vietnam, and distinguished himself in 
combat numerous times. In recognition of his gallantry, Lieutenant 
General Keck was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air 
Medal. The bravery he displayed in Vietnam is demonstrative of the 
characteristics that define the Air Force Officer's Core Values: 
Integrity first, Service Before Self, Excellence in all that is done. 
He has certainly displayed these values throughout his career.
  After the War, Lieutenant General Keck came back to the U.S., and 
served in a variety of commands in the Air Force. Throughout his 
career, Lieutenant General Keck has flown twenty-two different planes 
in several different missions. He logged over 4,600 flying hours, 886 
of which were in combat. He has certainly shown himself to be an able 
and adaptable pilot, perhaps one of the finest that the Air Force has 

[[Page S4385]]

  Lieutenant General Keck served in many places throughout the U.S. and 
abroad, including California, Arizona, Nebraska, Guam, Alabama, and 
Panama. I think it is also appropriate to recognize his family on this 
occasion as well, as they have supported him throughout many years and 
many moves.
  Lieutenant General Keck leaves the military as the Commander of the 
Eighth Air Force. The Eighth Air Force, or ``Mighty Eighth'' as it is 
known, consists of nine wings and two groups--nearly 500 aircraft, more 
than 53,000 active duty and civilian personnel, and 80 major 
installations world wide. The Mighty Eighth is headquartered at 
Barksdale Air Force Base in Northwest Louisiana. I am extremely proud 
to have my state host this exemplary unit. The relationship between the 
people of Northwest Louisiana and the community on base is excellent, 
and Lieutenant General Keck has only made that relationship better.
  On September 11th, Air Force One landed at Barksdale while it was on 
its way back to Washington. Lieutenant General Keck and Briadier 
General Bedke played host to President Bush. Less than a month later, 
numerous units from the Mighty Eighth would be deployed across the 
globe, defending America from the menace of terrorism. As Lieutenant 
General Keck leaves the service, we are a nation at war, but our Air 
Force is no doubt stronger as a result of Lieutenant General Keck's 
leadership. In the years to come, the Eighth Air Force will undertake 
many more missions in Operation Enduring Freedom, and there is no doubt 
in my mind that they will be successful.
  In closing, I would like to thank Lieutenant General Keck for his 
years of dedicated service to our country. I would also like to thank 
his family for the support they have provided over all of these years. 
I wish him well in the future and success in all of his