Thursday, November 13, 2008

COMMENTARY>>The value of the 314 AW brand

By Col. Mark Vlahos
314th Airlift Wing Vice commander

For more than four decades now, the 314th Airlift Wing and Little Rock Air Force Base have been home to the world’s premier C-130 Flying Training Unit. When people around the world talk or think about the mission of Little Rock AFB, they mention the world-class classroom, simulator, flying and maintenance training that goes on every day — this is the value of the 314th Airlift Wing brand. Recently, a contingent from the United Arab Emirates visited the base; why? To see how we train our C-130 force. Their final comment was simple: “we want to build a Little Rock AFB — meaning training center of excellence— in our country.” We routinely hear these comments from our allied partners, and they validate the value of the 314 AW brand.

The 314 AW plays a key role in the Air Education and Training Command continuum of training. We are the final stop in the flight training continuum for all students before they check into their operational C-130 units. The 314 AW provides graduate-level flight training for all crew positions, in both the C-130E and C-130J. When the 314 AW graduates a student, with that graduation comes a brand or seal that the crewmember is certified as combat ready. I like to think of it as a stamp on the forehead of every graduate, the C-130 FTU seal of approval — our brand. For any crewmember, the very next flight after graduating from the FTU could very well be on a deployment in support of the global war on terrorism. The 314 AW is a true force multiplier for every combatant commander; we provide combat-ready crewmembers to sustain the force. Every C-130 mission supporting the global war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan saves American lives by taking convoys off the road.

Every C-130 mission flown in the world can trace its roots to the 314 AW and Little Rock AFB.

As Gen. Lorenz stated, the mission and importance of Little Rock AFB is bigger than the mission of its component wings. Even though base ownership has changed, the mission of Team Rock and the 314th Airlift Wing has not. As a separate wing, the 314th AW can focus on our critical mission of training the world’s best Combat Airlifters to fly, fight and win. With the support of the host wing and our Air National Guard partners in the 189th Airlift Wing, our importance is essential and growing. The 314 AW brand or FTU seal of approval that we provide for all services and 34 nations reverberates around the world. Our stock has never been higher — training is essential to winning the GWOT and future conflicts. Like I said in paragraph one, when people talk or think about Little Rock AFB they think about the C-130 Training Center of Excellence, not just in our Air Force, but in air forces around the globe. That’s the value of the 314 AW brand.


Post a Comment