Air Force Times
By Jeff Schogol

Air Force Secretary Michael Donley announced Friday he is retiring June 21 after nearly five years in his post, an Air Force news story said.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to serve with our Air Force's great airmen," Donley said in the release. "Their accomplishments have been nothing short of impressive, and I'm humbled to be a part of this team. The Air Force has been a way of life for so much of my career, I know it will be bittersweet to say farewell."

Donley gave no hint of his imminent announcement when he spoke with reporters earlier in the week.

Donley became acting Air Force secretary in June 2008 when then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired his predecessor and the chief of staff over the mishandling of nuclear weapons. He was formally confirmed by the Senate that October.

Under his leadership, the Air Force has refocused its efforts on the nuclear enterprise by creating Global Strike Command. Last year, he went toe-to-toe with Congress over proposed cuts to Air National Guard and personnel. Ultimately, most of the personnel cuts were rescinded.

Donley leaves as the service is struggling to deal with sex assault scandals and budget cuts. Recently, he decided to donate 14 days worth of his yearly salary as a sign of solidarity with Air Force civilians, who are expected to be furloughed for two weeks this fiscal year due to budget cuts.

"This is an extraordinary and exciting time for our Air Force, filled with both challenges and opportunities," he said in the release.

He said he was "confident" the "strength and professionalism" of the airmen, along with the leadership of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody will "continue to see us through."

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