18th Air Force commander dives into Little Rock’s warrior culture

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Rhett Isbell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett, 18th Air Force commander, explored the many capabilities of Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Jan. 28-31, 2019, including Airmen’s ability to generate agile combat airlift, ensure full-spectrum readiness and embody a warrior culture.

Barrett met with Team Little Rock Airmen and received first-hand accounts of their performance and how they help support the mission. They also discussed the benefits of joint exercises such as Green Flag Little Rock and Mobility Guardian, which prepare mobility forces to operate in combat.

“Green Flag Little Rock is absolutely critical to our forces,” Barrett said. “We don’t just fight as an Air Force when we execute our mission. It’s as a joint team. What exercises like Green Flag do is they pull together the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and some coalition countries to be able to work together in multi-domain, complex environments.”

These exercises, conducted in a variety of locations to mimic the diversified environments Airmen may travel to, help give realistic scenarios to test current capabilities.

Likewise, exercises conducted here are targeted to teach Airmen readiness in a crawl-walk-run fashion. Each iteration provides a roadmap for how to craft future training.

“We’re using multiple base-wide exercises to increase our full-spectrum readiness,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Eric Balbo, 19th Maintenance Squadron superintendent and briefer. “It’s all about changing the mindset of Airmen. We’re building up that quick-response muscle memory for future endeavors around the world.”

During an all-call with Airmen, Barrett addressed Airmen’s concerns and discussed how past base-wide exercises have prepared mobility forces to operate in combat. Team Little Rock’s approach to the renewed readiness initiative supports this vision with its regular and diversified exercises, testing a wide array of military responses.

“I don’t think I have another wing that exhibits a mission-focused culture and a ‘can-do’ attitude like the 19th Airlift Wing does,” Barrett said. “I think they are very well trained and postured to execute the mission that we task them to do anywhere in the world.”

Examining a variety of base assets and meeting the Airmen in charge of them, Barrett witnessed the Combat Airlifter mindset first-hand. Airmen who deliver innovative solutions through operations expertise are developing the footprint for the future of rapid global mobility and responding to adversarial threats internationally.

“We must always be adapting to a changing environment,” Barrett said.

Team Little Rock has ensured readiness and resiliency are priorities by tailoring them to meet the needs of home station and contingency response requirements.

Barrett toured the base’s new Welcome Center at the Airman and Family Readiness Center while also learning about how the 19th AW is focusing on developing Airmen to be ready for tomorrow’s fight.

“We do training today to be ready for missions tomorrow,” Barrett said. 

Barrett also noted that without a tight-knit and interactive community, Combat Airlifters would not be able to sustain the warrior culture needed to focus on home station training, humanitarian relief or supporting contingency operations.

“The way the community here embraces the Airmen … it’s a powerful enabler for the Air Force,” Barrett said.