MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala.-- The Air Force Reserve Command leadership team, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee and Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White, joined the Air Education and Training Command leadership team, Lt. Gen. Brad Webb and Chief Master Sgt. Erik Thompson, for a combined visit to the 908th Airlift Wing here Feb. 6.
First on the itinerary was an office meeting with 908th leaders featuring the wing commander, Col. Craig Drescher, and the wing command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Tracy Cornett.
“What these key players discussed today laid the foundation for how we move forward with the possible re-missioning,” said Cornett. “All parties are equally invested and understand that we’re going for the same goal. This meeting was mile one of this marathon.” In November, the secretary of the Air Force announced the 908th AW and Maxwell AFB as the preferred choice for the MH-139 Greywolf helicopter and the training mission.
Next up was a town hall style meeting with 200 members of the wing at Polifka Auditorium. Normally, Polifka could seat all 1,200 members of the 908th AW, but organizers limited attendance in order to ensure the proper social distancing of more than six feet between individuals.
“The health and wellbeing of Airmen as we fight against COVID-19 is a top priority,” said Capt. Todrick Burks, the project officer for the visit. “I think that leadership has done an outstanding job of ensuring that everyone is healthy and safe while we continue to do the mission and events like this.”
Before leadership addressed the crowd about important issues, they presented AFRC coins to outstanding individuals they felt deserved recognition. Scobee coined Capt. Todrick Burks, 908th Maintenance Squadron operations officer; Capt. David Smith, 908th Operations Support Squadron intelligence officer; Tech. Sgt. Tiana Lee, 908th Force Support Squadron personalist; Staff Sgt. Alexander Turner, 908th Aeromedical Staging Squadron dental assistant; and Senior Airman Yesenia Vasquez-Yanes, 908th MXS C-130 Hercules crew chief.
The town hall covered everything from the MH-139 Greywolf helicopter mission to AETC plans for assisting local public schools in their efforts to improve. Additionally, Lt. Gen. Scobee and Lt. Gen. Webb, who was accompanied by his Reserve advisor, Maj. Gen. Bret Larson, made it clear they are in lock step and unified for their support of the 908th, the great Airmen that carry out the mission and they will do whatever it takes for Maxwell to be successful.
“I recognize and appreciate the value the men and women of the 908th Airlift Wing bring to the Air Force,” Scobee said. “Should Maxwell Air Force Base be selected as the location for the MH-139 helicopter formal training unit, we will support the needs of 908th Airmen and their families by exploring every available option for them to be part of the new mission or help explore new opportunities in existing Reserve units within the region.”
The generals also constantly reiterated that they cared about the Airmen and that they and their families came first on their list of priorities.
“This training mission is incredibly important for the Air Force and our nation, and we are going to take care of the Airmen and the mission as we make this transition,” said Webb. “There are a lot of details to be worked out, but when you have a partnership like this, the only possible outcome is success.”
Drescher called the visit extremely valuable for both commands and the wing, stating, “This was a great opportunity for the AFRC and AETC command teams to come together, in-person, to see for themselves the great Airmen of the 908th Airlift Wing.”
Located at Maxwell Air Force Base and operating a fleet of nine C-130H Hercules cargo aircraft, the 908th is Alabama’s only Air Force Reserve wing. The wing has approximately 1,200 Reserve Citizen Airmen, serving in more than 20 career fields, with Air Reserve Technicians, civilian employees and Reservists on active duty tours conducting day-to-day operations. Over the spring and summer of 2021, the 908th will engage in the largest deployment in wing history - sending more than 300 Airmen to locations around the globe.