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Under Secretary of the Air Force visits Beale

Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton answers questions at an Airmen's call during a visit to Beale AFB, Calif., March 7, 2012.  During her visit, Conaton met with Airmen and toured the 548th ISR Group, aircraft static displays, Beale???s flying squadrons, the 9th Physiological Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Schwab/Released)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton answers questions at an Airmen's call during a visit to Beale Air Force Base, Calif., March 7, 2012. During her visit, Conaton met with Airmen and toured the 548th ISR Group, aircraft static displays, Beale's flying squadrons, the 9th Physiological Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Schwab/Released)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton receives a briefing from 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group leadership during a tour of Beale Air Force Base, Calif., March 7, 2012. During her tour, Conaton was briefed on numerous squadron, group and wing functions highlighting Beale's ISR missions.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sergeant Jonathan Fowler/Released)

Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton receives a briefing from 548th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group leadership during a tour of Beale Air Force Base, Calif., March 7, 2012. During her tour, Conaton was briefed on numerous squadron, group and wing functions highlighting Beale's ISR missions. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sergeant Jonathan Fowler/Released)

Staff Sgt. Kentonis McGee, 9th Physiological Support Squadronsuit technician, explains to Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton how U-2 Dragon Lady pilots drink and eat during long flights. Conaton visited Beale Air Force Base, Calif., March 7, 2012, to learn more about the base's continuing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Schwab/Released)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kentonis McGee, 9th Physiological Support Squadronsuit technician, explains to Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton how U-2 pilots drink and eat during long flights. Conaton visited Beale Air Force Base, Calif., March 7, 2012, to learn more about the base's continuing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/John Schwab/Released)

BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., -- Under Secretary of the Air Force Erin Conaton visited here March 6-8 to learn more about Beale's continuing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission.

During her visit, Conaton toured the 548th ISR Group, aircraft static displays, Beale's flying squadrons, the 9th Physiological Support Squadron and met with Airmen during breakfast and an Airmen's call.

Conaton is responsible for the affairs of the Department of the Air Force on behalf of the Secretary of the Air Force, which include organizing, training, equipping and providing for the welfare of more than 332,000 active duty members, 176,000 Air National Guard and Reservist, 190,000 civilians, and their families.

"Being able to represent Airmen (in the field) at the Pentagon is what leadership does on a day to day basis," she said. "Hearing from Airmen and seeing their work first hand is the best way to make sure leadership decisions are made that allow us to continue to be the best air force in the world."

During the Airmen's call, breakfast, and squadron visits, Airmen had the opportunity to speak with the Under Secretary and ask questions. The subject of the questions varied, but most were focused on current events, such as the reduction in defense budgets and force strength.

"It is an exciting time to serve and we value each and every Airman," she said. "We are striving to keep a force adequate to successfully complete our missions while still maintaining the budget. At the same time we will continue to take care of Airmen and their families with minimal impact to benefits, such as health care costs."

Conaton concluded her Airmen's call and visit to the base by thanking Beale Airmen for their contributions and direct impact to national security.

"ISR is essential to our present Air Force and future Air Force as well," Conaton said. "Thank you for all you do. The highest levels of Department of Defense leadership know about your mission and what you bring to the fight."