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ACC commander accepts Order of the Sword recognition

General Holmes is greeted by Airmen at the door

Enlisted service members from Air Combat Command congratulate U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, after he accepted his invitation for the Order of the Sword recognition July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The Order of the Sword symbolizes the level of respect enlisted members bestow upon a leader who has proven to be an effective leader. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

Chief Wade, Airman Jones and General Holmes pose for photograph

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, the command chief for Air Combat Command; U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lindsey Jones, the most junior enlisted member on the headquarters ACC staff; and U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of ACC, pose for a photograph with the invitation for the Order of the Sword recognition July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Holmes will be the ninth ACC commander to earn the honor from the enlisted service members of the command. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

General Holmes is surprised by the invitation for the Order of the Sword

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, is surprised July 28, 2020, by enlisted members of ACC with an invitation to receive the Order of the Sword recognition at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. Holmes was delivering remarks and answering questions from a virtual NCO development course when a participant asked if he would accept the honor. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

Chief Wade talks with General Holmes about the Order of the Sword

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, the command chief for Air Combat Command, explains to U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of ACC, why the enlisted corps of ACC chose Holmes as the ninth recipient of the Order of the Sword for ACC on July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The honor recognizes a leader as a champion of enlisted issues. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

A participant records the invitation to the Order of the Sword for U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia

A participant records the invitation to the Order of the Sword for U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of Air Combat Command, July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, the command chief for ACC, explains the importance of the honor to Holmes, who will formally accept the recognition in late August. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

The Order of the Sword invitation

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Lindsey Jones, a junior enlisted member on the Air Combat Command headquarters staff, holds the invitation for the Order of the Sword presentation for U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, the commander of ACC, July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia. The invitation allows Holmes the opportunity to choose the time and place when the enlisted service members of ACC can formally conduct the official ceremony. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

The Order of the Sword display

This Order of the Sword display is in the headquarters of Air Combat Command at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, July 28, 2020. The recognition is the highest honor the Air Force enlisted corps can bestow upon a leader, and it recognizes the recipient as an “Airman among Airmen.” (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Daryl Knee)

JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --

The commander of Air Combat command accepted the invitation for the Order of the Sword on July 28, 2020, at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Gen. Mike Holmes will be the ninth 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.”

Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, the command chief for ACC, polled the enlisted leaders from ACC’s wings to get the opinion if Holmes had earned the honor by dedicating his efforts to strengthening the enlisted corps during his time as the commander.

“I got a resounding, “Yes,” from 100 percent of those people that I asked,” he said. “(General Holmes,) you are the leader that this award is meant for, and we want to congratulate you as the ninth inductee into the Air Combat Command Order of the Sword.”

The invitation came as a surprise to Holmes, who was delivering remarks and answering questions during a virtual NCO development course. A participant of the course asked Holmes if he would accept the invitation, which then prompted a group of enlisted Airmen to rush into Holmes’ office to congratulate him.

“That’s something that’s really important -- that’s something that meaningful to anybody in the Air Force,” Holmes said. “So yes, I would be honored to accept that invitation.”

Wade then asked Holmes to walk outside the doors of the headquarters building for one more surprise: Nearly 30 enlisted Airmen were waiting to congratulate and cheer for Holmes.

“This month has been an emotional one for me already,” said Holmes, who is scheduled to retire next month. “So I’m always a little on the edge with being emotional anyway, and I’m glad I have this mask on and a hat so you can’t really see me too well right now.

“I stayed in the Air Force for 39 years because I found my meaning and purpose by being with Airmen and their families and being a part of this community,” he continued. “When I’m not a part of it anymore, it’s the thing that I will miss the most. So thank you for giving me a minute to feel like a part of this community with you this morning.”

The official ceremony for the Order of the Sword induction is scheduled for Aug. 26, with the change of command and retirement slated for Aug. 28.

Watch the video here: https://www.facebook.com/ACConFB/videos/338342880889564