20 AF commander visits KAFB; mission continuity amid COVID-19

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Austin J. Prisbrey
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael J. Lutton, 20th Air Force commander, visited Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, July 21-22, 2020, to meet with Team Kirtland members and learn about the missions they perform everyday and their impacts on national security.

Since taking command of 20th Air Force commander July 8, 2020, Lutton is now responsible for four wings, to include the 377th Air Base Wing at Kirtland AFB. Lutton oversees the ongoing critical missions that support national security.

Lutton began the multi-day visit with a brief from Col. David S. Miller, 377th ABW commander, about the vital tasks that members of Team Kirtland accomplish daily.

“I am inspired by the professionalism and excellence of the Airmen in the 20th Air Force,” said Lutton. “The Airmen of Kirtland Air Force Base are a truly exceptional team of professionals, and they accomplish a very important mission for our nation. I am proud to serve alongside them as the 20 AF commander.”

Lutton continued the tour by visiting several locations to include the Military Personnel Flight, groundwater treatment plant, security access points and future infrastructure project sites. 

“The 377th SFS team had the opportunity to share with Maj. Gen. Lutton status updates on new ways our squadron is leveraging technology to further harden our base’s security and even better hone our command and control capabilities,” said Maj. Daniel Beaudoin, 377th Security Forces Squadron commander. “As a commander, I was proud to see my team have the opportunity to showcase all the fantastic work they have been doing on behalf of the base’s missions, its members, and their families.”

The second day of the tour began with a briefing and airlift on a HH-60G Pave Hawk by the 58th Special Operations Wing to the Air Force Civil Engineer Center wildfire lookout post, located in the eastern-most remote forest area of Kirtland AFB.

Greg Valdez, Kirtland’s wildland fire module leader, discussed the progress of fuel-breaks he and his team are creating in the area.

“The intent of the fuel-break is to provide a defensible location to stop or slow the spread of wildfire from leaving the installation or approaching the installation in the alternate scenario,” said Valdez. “Maj. Gen. Lutton was briefed on current ecosystem restoration and wildlife habitat improvement practices in addition to strategic long-term planning to protect assets on the installation.”

Lutton concluded the last day of his visit by meeting with mission partners that contribute to critical national security projects; Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center and Sandia National Labs and the 377th Medical Group.

“I proudly introduced Maj. Gen. Lutton to the hard working Tiger Medics that have been indispensable during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Col. Gregory Coleman, 377th MDG commander. “We discussed plans on how to handle COVID-19 this fall, our relationship with the VA hospital and how we will continue to provide care for the Airmen and families of Team Kirtland.”

Just as Airmen with the 377th MDG continue to provide care for Team Kirtland, Airmen of the 377th ABW continue to provide valued support to the various missions on base. 

“We are excited to host Maj. Gen. Lutton here at Kirtland,” said Chief Master Sgt. Robert Stamper, 377th ABW command chief. “[We] showcased the outstanding Airmen we have in the 377th Air Base Wing and showed him how we support all 108 mission partners so that they can also accomplish their missions.”