Gen. Mark Welsh, Wakeboarding, and Sequestration

Gen. Welsh sporting his new hardware at a Jan. 11 press event. (Aaron Mehta)

On Friday, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley and was joined by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh for a press event. And while the focus of the event was on sequestration – read our notes on the event here – the room was also abuzz with the most important question:

What happened to Gen. Welsh?

As you can see from the slightly grainy photo above, Gen. Welsh had his left arm in a black sling.

“It’s ugly in these sequestration meetings,” joked Welsh in his opening remarks. “We were struggling for resources between the service chiefs the other day, and it’s the first time I think I realized how big [Army Chief of Staff] Ray Odierno really is.”

But the question was still lingering in the air until one reporter- Jeff Schogol from our sister publication Air Force Times – brought the heavy line of questioning.

It turns out that Gen. Welsh hurt himself last year. We’ll let him tell the story in his own words….

“The truth is that about a year ago my wife and I went wakeboarding with my oldest son and our grandkids. My wife is a very good waterskier – she’d never tried wakeboarding, nor had I – and she immediately jumped on a wakeboard, came out of the water instantly, and was incredibly good. Which of course meant I had to be better. Being the guy, it was important for me to show her up. So about ten faceplants later and a torn up shoulder, I conceded, once again, that my wife is better than me at everything.”

Of course, given the topic, Welsh couldn’t let a timely kicker go by: “Now I needed to get the depot repair in before sequestration,” he added.

We here at Defense News wish the General all the best in his recovery.


Aaron Mehta

Aaron Mehta

Air Warfare Correspondent at Defense News
Aaron covers the Air Force for Defense News. In his spare time, he tweets about the Air Force for Defense News. Follow him @AaronMehta
Aaron Mehta