19th Air Force Leadership visits Kirtland; talks innovation and accelerating change

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kiana Pearson
  • 377th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills, 19th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kristina Rogers, 19th Air Force command chief, visited Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., Nov. 2-3, 2020.

The 19th Air Force command team started their visit by holding leadership discussions with the 58th Special Operations Wing and the 150th Special Operations Wing, of the New Mexico Air National Guard.

“The 58th SOW and 150th SOW provide the critical foundation of the Air Force’s Special Operations Forces,” said Wills. “Chief Rogers and I are thrilled to be here with the outstanding Total Force Airmen of these two wings to observe firsthand how they’re training officer and enlisted aircrew for our Air Force.”

Wills and Rogers toured aircrew training devices facilities at the training squadron. They ended the day with a flight aboard an HH-60G Pave Hawk to remote training areas and landing zones near the installation.

“This is the first time since I have been in command that Maj. Gen. Wills has had the chance to come out with Chief Rogers to visit,” said Col. Michael Curry, 58th SOW commander. “In this visit, we were able to show him we are supporting the fielding of the new combat rescue helicopter and introduce them to the maintenance innovations inside the 58th Maintenance Group.”

In August, U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, outlined the importance of innovation in his strategic approach for success that supports the need for accelerating change.

“We must contribute…through innovation, experimentation and rapid prototyping, and a collaborative approach with our service and industry teammates,” said Brown.

The visit allowed the 19th Air Force command team to fulfill Gen. Brown’s vision by participating in virtual reality simulation demonstrations that are used for training on the new combat rescue helicopter. The simulators enable Airmen to see the inside of the C-130 engine and break apart components of the CV-22. 

“There’s an innovation imperative in our Air Force right now and the maintainers of the 58th SOW are leading the way,” said Wills.  “Finding new ways to train that leverage the unique skills and talents our young Airmen bring to Air Force is critical if we want to remain the world’s best Air Force.”