18th, 19th AF commanders tour Herk Nation

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kristine M. Gruwell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. —  For the first time since 2008, the 18th and 19th Air Force commanders, simultaneously toured Herk Nation at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, November 4-6.

Although their two tours had unique itineraries, Maj. Gen. Kenneth T. Bibb Jr., 18th AF commander, and Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th AF commander, were brought together for a Team Little Rock mission brief. The brief showcased how the 19th, 314th and 189th Airlift Wings and 913th Airlift Group employ Total Force Integration by working seamlessly together to ensure the C-130 enterprise is best equipped to deliver rapid global mobility anywhere, anytime.

“The collaboration here at Herk Nation is unlike any other,” said Bibb. “From the Air Education and Training Command, Guard and Reserve partnerships, to the outstanding community partnerships, you are the very best at what you do.”

Each Numbered Air Force commander visited their respective wings to learn more about the innovative ways they have integrated with mission partners across the installation. During their visit, both commanders saw how the base is uniquely structured around the C-130J Super Hercules and the C-130 Hercules.

“The partnerships we enjoy here at Little Rock AFB, coupled with our single mission set are absolutely critical to our nation’s business,” said Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing commander. “Total Force Mobility Airmen project the Joint Force ensuring credible conventional deterrence against any aspiring competitor.” 

The two NAF commanders witnessed first-hand how the base aggressively works together as one team to prepare students, maintain readiness and execute operations in support of the National Defense Strategy's objectives.

“Everywhere you go, people talk about partnerships,” said Wills. “Team Little Rock really walks the walk — the Total Force Integration here is truly second to none.”

The 19th AW is the host wing comprised of C-130Js and active-duty Airmen trained to execute the mission today and prepare for the high-end fight tomorrow. The 314th AW consists of active-duty Airmen with a mission to train C-130J pilots and loadmasters who are prepared to fully integrate into global operations.

 “We are successful in what we do here because of the strong partnerships we have across the installation,” said Col. Joseph Miller, 314th AW commander. “It takes all of us working together at every level, and that’s what Herk Nation is all about.”

In addition to the active-duty units, the 189th AW serves as the Arkansas Air National Guard component preparing C-130H pilots, loadmasters and maintainers for a steady transition from the training to operational environment. Additionally, the 913th AG is the Air Force Reserve unit at Little Rock AFB. The 913th AG, comprised of six squadrons, rounds out Herk Nation and integrates with the three AWs to provide strategic depth and essential readiness capabilities.

“I have been here for 23 years and TLR is the strongest it’s ever been,” said Col. Dean Martin, 189th AW commander.  “Hosting two NAF commanders is a great opportunity to show them how we fully integrate together and epitomize Total Force.”  

Throughout their visit, the commanders witnessed how Herk Nation’s Airmen are at the leading edge of operational excellence accelerating the changes required to meet the needs of today’s Air Force and win tomorrow’s fight.

“TLR is setting the tone for the entire AF in almost every aspect,” Bibb said. “What’s it like to be on a championship team? What’s it like to be part of the best team in the world? I know what it’s like because you are the very best in the world at Agile Combat Airlift — you are the championship team.”