EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Lt. Gen. Brad Webb, commander of Air Education and Training Command, visited the 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, April 7, 2021.
Webb visited the 33rd FW to meet with the Airmen who make the mission happen, discuss community initiatives and support to local programs with civic leaders, and learn about the Nomads’ focused efforts on rated diversity improvement.
Civic leaders explained actions being taken by local organizations, such as safeguarding military mission needs in the local area, community efforts to support military families, and suicide prevention efforts.
“Our Airmen aren’t just members of the military, they contribute to a thriving local community,” said Webb. “Cooperative working relationships like these are essential to support our Airmen and families.”
Col. Jon Wheeler, 33rd FW commander, agreed.
“We truly believe our community does wonders for the Airmen in our wing,” said Wheeler.
Webb met with Airmen across the wing, recognizing Airmen with duties ranging from aircraft maintenance to those contributing to future mission successes. Maj. Angela Walker, 337th Air Control Squadron chief of operations group standardization and evaluations, was also presented with her AETC Outstanding Air Battle Manager of the Year award. A total of 12 Airmen were highlighted for their exemplary work and dedication to the mission.
“Being recognized by a MAJCOM commander is definitely an experience,” said Tech. Sgt. Brandon Didonato, 33rd FW Manpower Office NCO in charge maintenance requirements. “It only bolsters my appreciation and respect to my local mentors and senior leaders; I couldn’t be as productive without their guidance.”
The tour concluded with a discussion of the 33rd FW’s efforts to improve diversity of rated career fields, highlighted by Airmen who served as mentors in outreach events. The unit’s efforts further the Air Force’s Rated Diversity Improvement strategy, released last month, to strengthen diversity to cultivate a high performing and innovative Air Force reflective of the best of our nation.
Capt. Jessica Kelly, 337th Air Control Squadron air battle manager instructor, said the goal of volunteering was to expose youth to aviation career fields they may have considered out of their reach.
“Some individuals may not always look at college as a financially feasible option or have a full understanding of aviation career opportunities,” said Kelly. “Educating these young folks on resources the Air Force has to offer is incredibly important.”
Webb lauded the efforts of the wing to show young people they can aspire to great heights.
“This is worthy work,” said Webb. “It strengthens me to see this team initiating this type of outreach. Let’s make good history with substantive change.”
The 33rd Fighter Wing “Nomads,” is a graduate flying and maintenance training wing for the F-35A Lightning II. The wing also has two geographically separated organizations at Tyndall AFB and Hurlburt Field, Florida. Annual student training yields on average 58 F-35 pilots, 150 F-35 A/B/C maintainers, 140 intelligence personnel in support of Air Force Special Operations Forces, 48 intelligence personnel in support of F-35 operations and 82 air battle managers in support of Air Force operations.
This story has been updated to reflect a correction of a quote.