Q&A with former 18th Air Force Commander

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Editor's note: From November 2005 until June 2008, Maj. Gen. James A. Hawkins served as the third commander after the 18th Air Force's reactivation on Oct. 1, 2003. His thoughts represent the second in a series of perspectives from former 18th Air Force commanders.

What do you feel were the proudest achievements under your command?
In 2007, at the direction of the Secretary of Defense, we deployed approximately 1,500 MRAPs (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles) to Iraq in only four months! I am also very proud of standing up the 385th Air Expeditionary Wing to support U.S. Central Command's intratheater lift requirements. This was a great initiative that allowed us to significantly reduce the stress of the operation and personnel tempo on the active duty C-130 fleet.

What were the toughest challenges you faced?
We had a staff of about 30 people (mostly in our legal office) to manage the largest Numbered Air Force in the Service (we represented about 1/7 of the Air Force's entire active duty manpower)!

What are your thoughts on 18th Air Force's evolution over the last 10 years?
I'm pleased to see that the command's role has matured and developed to the point that the 18th Air Force is indeed U.S. Transportation Command's war-fighting air component.