Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, and Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, command chief of ACC, toured Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., during a week-long visit, Oct. 19-23, 2020.
During Kelly’s first visit to Nellis since assuming command, he got a behind-the-scenes look at how Team Nellis works to keep the complex mission of six wings aligned with senior leaders’ top priorities.
“It’s always nice to visit Nellis and the Nevada Testing and Training Range because the training and resources that our Airmen get here don’t exist anywhere else in the world,” Kelly said. “Team Nellis is truly at the tip of the spear when it comes to advancing our force toward the digital modernization that it will take to win tomorrow’s fight.”
As Nellis is home to six of ACC’s 35 wings, Kelly used this visit to see a variety of operational mission sets that fall under his command.
A key theme throughout the event was showcasing Nellis’ ability to provide Airmen with world class training that readies the force for tomorrow’s adversaries.
“We take the best of the best, bring them here to Nellis, and train them up,” Wade said. “Then we put them in strategic positions across ACC and our Air Force. They take what they learn here at courses like the Weapons School and then it propagates across our force.”
Throughout the visit, Airmen and senior leaders provided insight on current operations and highlighted Nellis’ ability to create realistic and effective testing and combat training for today’s warfighters.
Kelly got an insider’s view of the advanced composite force training, tactics development, the electronic combat testing areas and the Department of Defense and Department of Energy testing, research, and development area on NTTR.
“This team maximizes every resource they have and they’re moving fast,” said Wade. “The command goes the way Nellis goes because of the training, testing and tactical procedures that happen here every day. They’re always looking to the future and trying to make us a more lethal and ready force.”
While touring the base, aptly known as the “home of the fighter pilot,” Kelly emphasized the importance of the graduate-level warfighter training and resources that Nellis provides as the last stop for Airmen before a deployment.
Two advancements in innovation at Nellis that meet the Air Force Chief of Staff’s “Accelerate Change or Lose” vision are the Virtual Test and Training Center and the 5G network development.
The Virtual Test and Training Center is an innovative training facility on Nellis that allows pilots to simultaneously train together in live and virtual environments.
The 5G network, another innovative development that recently came to fruition through the awarding of a DoD contract with AT&T, also drew praise from the commander. Kelly expressed how the advancement of 5G technology will bridge the gap between legacy tactical command and control entities and the future of C2.
“The United States Air Force Warfare Center and its subordinate units provide U.S. and allied Airmen the tools, tactics and training to meet and defeat any adversary,” said Kelly. “From the Weapons School to Red Flag to the incredible capability the VTTC brings, Team Nellis works every day to prepare warfighters to succeed in the high-end fight by delivering realistic, effective training that is relevant to our joint and coalition operations worldwide.