ACC leaders visit 355th Fighter Wing

Air Force photograph by Staff Sgt. Chris Drzazgowski

Senior leaders from Air Combat Command headquarters at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va., visited the 355th Fighter Wing at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., March 1-4.

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of ACC, and Chief Master Sgt. Frank Batten III, command chief of ACC, kicked off their visit here by officially certifying the A-10C Thunderbolt II Demonstration Team, allowing them to perform in aerial events throughout the country.

The certification occurred in conjunction with the annual Heritage Flight Training and Certification Course held here to certify civilian and U.S. Air Force pilots to fly in formation together during the air show season.

“Heritage Flight is really important because it’s the way we talk to the American people about what the Air Force does,” Holmes said. “We use our heritage from the past and we pair it up with our current airplanes—and it’s quite an attention getter. It’s impressive to the people we see, so what I ask of our pilots is to focus on doing ordinary things extraordinarily well so we can continue to tell the Air Force story.”

On the second day of their visit, the senior leaders traveled to each group of the 355th FW as well as its tenant units, the 563rd Rescue Group and the 55th Electronic Combat Group.

“We spend a lot of time at Langley trying to work on taking care of the things that Airmen need to make sure they have the tools to get their job done right,” Holmes said. “We get insight from the wing commanders, but it’s still good to get out and see Airmen face-to-face and look at the things we hear about to see what they’re really like.”

During those face-to-face meetings, General Holmes and Chief Batten commended superior performers and were also presented with ideas and innovative practices by Airmen from each group.

“For us to foster innovation as a service, I think it starts with trust, and then building that trust with the Airmen we lead every day,” Holmes said. “We need to ask questions that are designed to help Airmen think through the problem, and think through what kind of help they might need to ultimately turn it into an idea we can bring to life.”

In addition to bringing the future faster to the Air Force, powered by innovation from our Airmen, both General Holmes and Chief Batten are in concurrence that the key to fulfilling ACC’s priority of squadron readiness starts with taking care of people.

“We currently have Airmen deployed supporting the majority of all the combatant commands across the world,” Batten said. “I don’t see any slowing down in the future. We just need to be able to maintain our readiness, focus on training, and giving time back to our Airmen in between these deployments and training events so they can focus on taking care of themselves, taking care of their families, and taking care of the mission.”

General Holmes emphasized the importance of our service’s initiative to delegate authority in order to foster rapid growth and continue to be the globe’s dominant fighting force.

“We want all our Airmen and all our supervisors to know we want them to use the information they have to make the best decision they can, do their best to make it work, and learn from it to continue growing as a person and as an Airman,” Holmes said.

The senior leaders also held an all call during their visit. General Holmes had a special message for the Airmen in attendance.

“In the world we’re living in, we’re going to have to continue to test our Air Force,” Holmes said. “We’re going to continue to find new ways to prevail and do the things that people expect us to do. That means we need the people who are serving in the Air Force to stay and keep doing it. I want to offer everyone opportunities to not only grow as a person, but also to lead a meaningful life in a community where you and your families can thrive. Our country needs us. You have all gained skills and experience that would take years to replace, and I just want to ask you to stick around and keep getting the job done for our country.”