May 15, 2002 - Issue: Vol. 148, No. 62 — Daily Edition107th Congress (2001 - 2002) - 2nd Session
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 produced. [[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 endeavors. ____________________