FEBRUARY 20, 2019 – Gen. Mike Holmes and Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten, the commander of Air Combat Command and command chief, visited active duty, National Guard, and Reserve Airmen currently deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing, Feb. 14-15, 2019.
“This is my and the Chief’s third time out and around the area of responsibility and we come here for two main reasons,” said Holmes. “One is to see how things are changing and see how we can help where needed. The other reason is to spend time with you and recognize the hard work you’re doing out here.”
The command duo, charged with providing combat airpower to America’s warfighting commands, organizes, trains, equips, and maintains combat-ready forces. The command operates more than 1,000 aircraft at over 300 operating locations with 159,000 total force military and civilian personnel.
“Your country is still calling on you, so thanks for saying, ‘Yes!’ to the opportunity,” said Holmes.
The general and chief, along with five ACC squadron commanders from the ACC Numbered Air Forces, were immersed in a day-and-a-half long engagement, getting a hands-on look at current and future operations at Al Dhafra Air Base.
The visit began with a tour of ongoing base and flightline construction projects, then to operations and maintenance updates, followed with a demonstration of security measures, and an update on how ADAB supports the AOR and the U.S. Central Command mission.
In between getting eyes-on the changes and progression of the 380th AEW’s various missions, Holmes and Batten shared meals with Airmen at all levels.
“We found there’s a value proposition for Airmen to want to continue to serve,” said Holmes. “The two key components are that Airmen feel valued by the work they do, and that their work is contributing to something important.”
At multiple stops throughout the visit, Holmes and Batten met with Airmen, recognized top performers, and took questions on topics spanning current operations in the AOR, manning and training changes, restructuring of units, plans for budgeting, as well as personal questions regarding the general’s current reading list and how he and the chief stay healthy and resilient with their demanding schedule.
“I recently read an article that talked about how you need to have some form of movement on a daily basis, you need to nourish yourself properly, refresh yourself by doing things that are not work related, like a hobby, and you need to connect with people,” said Holmes, whose job requires him to be on the road up to 200 days out of the year. “I think that combination—move, nourish, refresh, and connect—is a good place to start in taking care of people.”
“That connection is so important,” said Batten. “I like getting out and about like this and seeing and interacting with Airmen because it charges my batteries.”
“We want to thank you,” said Holmes, “especially for those of you who have been out here several times. What you’re doing here is an important mission and that need hasn’t gone away.”
The general commented that one of his goals is to make the Air Force a place where Airmen can find meaning and purpose.
“We’re proud of you. I continue to find my meaning and purpose with all of you, and the reason I’ve been here for 38 years is because of you.”
Story by Senior Airman Mya Crosby
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs