Friday, February 13, 2009

View from the Top>>Three wings, one team

By Col. Gregory S. Otey
19th Airlift Wing commander

Team Little Rock – Home of Combat Airlift

There are three words we hear daily as we go about our business here. They’re on letterheads and the marquees, used in e-mails and Commander’s Calls, written in performance reports and spoken at staff meetings. They are: “Team Little Rock.” You can’t taxi a Herk or drive through our gates without running across the phrase.

Bases across the Air Force have come to embrace the term “team” and it may seem almost cliché to some. But most clichés are cliché for a reason – they’re so prevalent they become true. At The Rock, we take the team concept to an entirely new level and use it to impact operations around the world.

Anyone who makes their living in or around the C-130 gets their start here. Col. C.K. Hyde commands the 314th Airlift Wing. Their mission is to lay the foundation for the finest C-130 aviators and maintainers in the Air Force. They train these airlifters to fly, fight and win. More than 900 professional Airmen make this happen every day.

Additional training is provided by Col. Jim Summers and the men and women of the Air National Guard’s 189th Airlift Wing. They train C-130 aircrew to become instructors in their respective crew positions so they can return to their units and keep their members combat ready. They are also one of two flight engineer schools that provide entry-level flight engineer training.

The 314th AW and the 189th AW work in concert to train and educate providing the foundation for all Combat Airlifters. The 19 AW takes their product and with a little additional training and equipping we make them deployment ready. We ensure these Airmen are equipped and ready to answer our nation’s call. When that call comes, it doesn’t matter what patch you wear or what your wing guidon says. When we provided medical evacuation and security to the people of Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi following Hurricane Gustav, Americans didn’t thank a wing – they were grateful to a team. A tsunami rocked the Southeast Asian region known as Myanmar and Burma and we got the call. The world didn’t see lifesaving supplies from a squadron or group – they watched in awe as tail flashes proudly announced “The Rock” was there to help. A U.S. Marine, Soldier or one of our own Airmen performing a Joint Expeditionary Tasking with convoy duty will express his or her gratitude each time we’re able to take one of their convoys off the road in Iraq. They are not just thanking the Black Knights of the 19th AW, they are thankful “Team Little Rock” was producing Combat Airlifters.

Your actions each day are the embodiment of what it means to be part of “Team Little Rock.” I am very proud to lead this team and all its Combat Airlifters. You put the "Air" in Combat Airlift!


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