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Picture: Air Force chief of staff dons Captain America mask during speech

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Just call him Captain Air Power.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III walked on stage wearing a Captain America mask during his keynote address Tuesday, prompting cheers and laughter from the audience at the Air Force Association's annual Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition.

Welsh said the "A" on the mask stood for "air power," before delivering state-of-the-service remarks on the Air Force's war fighting, air power capabilities and readiness.

Addressing budget cutbacks, he said he's concerned about retaining good airmen as units are grounded and training hours scaled back.

"They served well, and now they have choices to make. ... If we're not letting them keep their edge, they'll walk."

But, Welsh said he remains confident in the Air Force's future.

"Our force is better educated than it has ever been, and we need to empower our airmen -- they’re remarkably capable. ... There is one Air Force in America, and you're in it," he said.

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huff.audrea@stripes.com
Twitter: @audreahuff

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