News: AMC commander visits JB MDL
Story by Airman 1st Class Sean Crowe
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Gen. Paul J. Selva, Air Mobility Command commander, explored Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, June 11-13, 2013, during an immersion tour designed to show him the multitude of missions at the joint base.
Selva met with organizations across the installation to observe the joint base’s mission as part of his immersion tour to familiarize himself with the installations under his command.
He visited the 514th Air Mobility Wing, JB MDL Honor Guard, Kish Airman Leadership School, dormitories, Combined Base Operations and Command Post and Emergency Operations Center during his first day here.
The tour was his first chance to get an in-depth look at AMC’s first and only tri-service joint base, although it was not Selva’s first visit to JB MDL.
“I’m very impressed with the breadth and depth of the mission that takes place here at the joint base,” said Selva. “The base’s mission puts a huge emphasis on teamwork with the other service branches. The geographical proximity of the units here facilitates each service’s mission through working with other branches.”
The majority of the units he toured do not directly carry out AMC’s mission, although many of them do work with AMC units. Marine Aircraft Group 49, which he visited his second day, shares the flightline with the 305th and 514th AMWs as well as the 108th Wing. This common ground is an example of how the mission partners support each other.
Selva commented on the interdependency of the units here and how that reflects the joint base’s ability to work as a team. The mission partners assist in carrying out global mobility, aerial refueling, aerial port operations, technical training, contingency response and installation support.
The mission partners coordinated with each other to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. The service members did not just meet the minimum requirement to stage the base, but went above and beyond by assisting the surrounding communities and assisting outside organizations in recovery operations, said Selva.
Some fuels airmen here supported Naval Weapons Station Earle with fuel following the Hurricane. Atlantic Strike Team members assisted with urban search and rescue efforts. None of the joint efforts were out of place for JB MDL service members.
Naval Air Systems Command provides the 305th AMW with a flightline closer to McGuire than any other airfield which provides better training opportunities. Mobility aircraft flying farther means spending more on fuel and maintenance which makes NAVAIR’s flightline a means of saving money in today’s cost-efficient environment, said Selva.
Sequestration has affected the mobility mission through loss of flight hours, training and civilian-employees hours.
“The mobility mission has been carried on despite the sequester,” said Selva. “I credit the success to airmen having the drive to do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission. The most important thing that mobility airmen can do is to take the time to learn their jobs so they can do the job right and carry out the mission.”
Selva toured various units the second day including: NAVAIR, Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center, MAG-49, 87th Medical Group, 621st Contingency Response Wing Global Readiness Deployment Center and the 305th Aerial Port Squadron.
The 621st CRW is a vital asset to the Air Force because it accomplishes many Air Force competencies including rapid global mobility, command and control and building partnerships. The 621st CRW has been an asset to the Air Force many times such as assisting French forces in Mali, Africa, said Selva.
Chief Master Sgt. Andy Kaiser, AMC command chief, also told JB MDL service members what an asset the 621st CRW is to the Air Force during an enlisted call at the base theater here. Kaiser also hit on several pressing topics including sexual assault, enlisted performance reports and sequestration.
Selva toured the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center and flew a C-17 Globemaster III with Col. Richard Williamson, 305th Air Mobility Wing commander, on his third and final day at JB MDL.
The tours allowed Selva a chance to see how the JB MDL mission is continuing, even with the struggles of sequestration.
The AMC airmen have maintained a basic level of readiness that must be maintained even through sequestration, but at the same time airmen are not ready to jump on a plane to wherever they are needed in 12 hours like the should be able to. The sequester has affected JB MDL mostly in the KC-10 Extender flight hours. The KC-10 squadrons have been hit the hardest by budget cuts of all units in the command, said Selva.
The final event he attended was the Advanced Study of Air Mobility class graduation during which he spoke to the graduates and conferred their master’s degrees.
“I have full faith that the service members here will do everything humanly possible to carry out the mobility mission,” said Selva.