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AMC commander talks care for Airmen, readiness with Team Little Rock

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kristine M. Gruwell
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Team Little Rock Airmen had the opportunity to interact with and tell their stories to Gen. Maryanne Miller, commander of Air Mobility Command, during a Nov. 1-2 visit to Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas.

The two-day visit began at the base chapel, where Miller met with representatives from various organizations. This included the mental health office, casualty assistance team, sexual assault prevention and response office and chapel team – all of whom are focused on providing coordinated, proactive care for Airmen and their families.

“There is no more important thing we can do as leaders than take care of our Airmen,” Miller said. “The quicker we can get them the help they need, the better they will be in the long run; that is what this team is focused on.”

Miller sat down with spouses and shared her thoughts on the importance of retaining and developing Air Force families. Team Little Rock Airmen then had a chance to explain a localized approach to programs such as Airman Leadership School and the Commander’s Right Start Course, which focus on developing Airmen.

“As we pivot toward focusing on and improving our full-spectrum readiness as an organization, we are taking a look at how we, at the flight level, can have an impact on that,” said Capt. Fiona Pham, 19th Logistics Readiness Squadron materiel management flight commander, referring to how Team Little Rock is specifically looking at developing junior officers with the Flight Leadership Course. “We think it is important to develop families, so we are bringing spouses into the course as well.”

Miller provided insight into the reason leaders should focus on developing Airmen for tomorrow.

“What does the Mobility Airman of the future need to look like?” Miller asked. “Right now, we are developing great Airmen – there’s no question about that. We have to continue to sharpen and develop our skills to be ready for the threats of tomorrow.”

The first day concluded with a hands-on event led by two vehicle maintenance Airmen who assisted Miller in changing a government-owned vehicle’s alternator. While working, Airmen highlighted the partnership between the 19th Airlift Wing and the 189th Airlift Wing, who together have eliminated the requirement for a duplicate vehicle maintenance facility by consolidating to one location, resulting in saved resources and time.

Day two afforded the opportunity to experience Camp Warlord – Team Little Rock’s on-base, exercise deployment zone used for readiness training. There, Miller saw facilities that have been revitalized by the 19th AW’s efforts to improve full-spectrum readiness over the last year.

“Recapitalizing on our training facilities at Camp Warlord has really bolstered our readiness efforts,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Gerald Donohue, 19th AW commander. “It has allowed us to train aggressively right here at Little Rock AFB, and then turn around and get our Airmen home to their beds. That has been instrumental to our successes at honing our readiness skills for tomorrow’s fight where we will need to be able to project and sustain combat airlift in degraded and contested environments.”

Shifting from the training environment to real-world operations, Miller entered a room full of 61st Airlift Squadron Airmen. Representatives addressed efforts toward providing more predictable and effective training for aircrew that enhances full-spectrum readiness at the unit level. Those in attendance discussed the current state of deployments and training.

“We need to take a look at how you’ve been deploying and see where we can improve the lives of our families and retain airlift Airmen,” Miller said. “Maintaining our competitive advantage requires continuous investment in our people and capabilities.”

This discussion continued in an all-call with Airmen from base, focusing on achieving mobility objectives in contested environments, but ending on an important note: taking care of each other at all levels.

“We are not all required to do great things, but we’re required to do things with great love,” Miller said, while sharing personal experiences. “Our job is to make sure that while developing leaders, we are looking out for our Airmen and for their resilience at all levels.”