SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Wing commanders, command chiefs and spouses representing Air Mobility Command gathered here for the fall Phoenix Rally conference Sept. 26 - 28.
Throughout the conference, AMC leaders discussed ways to grow and develop Airmen with a big “A.”
“Every single day you put Airmen to the test, take care of them, and they get the mission done,” said Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, AMC commander. “I am so proud of what you do.”
He asked the leaders in the audience to reflect on all of the hard work their Airmen accomplish. Mobility Airmen are enabling relief for Hurricane Irma, Harvey and Maria; they are working in Antarctica, Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan; and are also providing earthquake relief in Mexico.
“I don’t know what the future holds, but we as leaders have been charged with full spectrum readiness,” said Everhart.
Full spectrum readiness requires improving equipment and tactics used to meet the complex threats being developed and proliferated among potential adversaries.
“I know that’s hard, we have real world missions we are doing on top of ensuring readiness,” he said. “But there is a reason when I task you to do this, and it’s because of our Airmen. Our officers, our enlisted and our civilians are going to be asked to answer the nations’ call and you’re going to be leading them.”
He mentioned topics Airmen can look forward to in the future, such as a flight commanders course, a Mobility Capability Assessment study and integrating more with international partners when planning scenarios during exercises like Mobility Guardian.
One of the key topics discussed during the conference was lessons learned during Mobility Guardian.
“I didn’t care if we won or lost during the exercise, I care about what we learned from it and put into practice in the future because of it,” said Everhart.
The exercise hit at the heart of readiness and helped Mobility Airmen become aware of the areas they need to work on. One way the command plans to use the information obtained during the exercise is by developing more scenario-based training.
“Our folks are globally employed facing a variety of threats,” said Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th Airlift Wing commander at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas. “One of the things I’ll take back after attending this conference is a better appreciation for the urgency [Air Mobility Command] has when facing certain threats.”
The tough challenge will be trying to figure out how to prepare for the current and future conflicts simultaneously, said Donohue, referring to full-spectrum readiness.
Another way leaders can ensure Airmen are ready for tomorrow is by communicating the impact Mobility Airmen have on and off the base to both internal and external audiences. When leaders foster a proactive relationship with the surrounding community it can help the base complete its mission.
Everhart invited three AMC civic leaders, Dr. Ronda Sauget from Scott AFB, Illinois; William Johnson, representing Pope Army Airfield, North Carolina; and Jim Estepp, from Joint Base Andrews, D.C., to help commanders understand the importance of strategic communication, how to leverage it and when the community can assist in achieving desired effects.
“When you let us know what issues exist on your base we can help find the right people in the community to help solve them,” said Sauget. “We can also help build trust between the community and the base by providing credible information.”
Sauget said, this year she helped bring awareness to a school district in the Scott community about an issue affecting military families and was able to solve it, helping ease the stress of Airmen and their families when moving to a new area.
Estepp was key to helping AMC stand up its first Mobility Air Force Caucus, providing an opportunity for government leaders and their colleagues to discuss mobility air forces contributions to national defense. The caucus establishes a forum for exchange amongst its members and ensures they have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information about developments in air mobility.
Spouses of the commanders and command chiefs also learned how they can help within their communities.
Senior Master Sgt. Angell Nichols is both a spouse and active duty member serving as the 60th Operations Support Squadron superintendent at Travis AFB, California. She said while attending the conference with spouses from bases across the continental U.S., she has learned everyone has concerns and that spouses don’t have to feel alone when tackling them.
“I can take back the concerns and challenges other bases have and help other spouses,” she said.
Nichols also recommends spouses take advantage of key spouse opportunities or join a spouses club.
She said, this will help spouses meet people at their own base to discuss challenges and let them know they are not alone.
Chief Master Sgt. Shelina Frey, AMC command chief, recognized spouses during the conference stressing the importance of their impact and dedication. She even charged them with an oath and closed the conference thanking spouses for their service.
“That spouse you committed to, we didn’t issue you that spouse, that was a decision you made,” she said. “So make sure you take care of that loved one that takes care of you every single day.”