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19 AF command chief takes flight with 314 AW

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Sarah Ortega Corona
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Chief Master Sgt. Justin Apticar, 19th Air Force command chief, visited the 314th Airlift Wing at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, Feb. 6-8, 2024.

Apticar began his visit by sharing breakfast at the Hercules dining facility with 12 Airmen from the 314th AW. Over the meal, they shared challenges, successes, and individual aspirations.

“Every Airman I met expressed pride and enthusiasm for their service,” said Apticar. “They understand the significance of their daily contributions in preparing for future conflicts and reflect a shared commitment to their mission.”

Master Sgt. Renford Forbes, 62nd Airlift Squadron loadmaster superintendent, stated that Apticar’s focus on maximizing interactions with Airmen is what stood out to him.

“He sought to gain a real understanding of any issues or challenges we may be facing, from housing concerns to childcare availability,” said Forbes. “His genuine interest in hearing everyone's perspectives demonstrated his commitment to effecting positive change from his level."

As the tour continued, Apticar visited the 62nd Airlift Squadron where he had the opportunity to explore a C-130J Super Hercules, affectionately nicknamed the Heritage Aircraft. 

Shortly after take off, Apticar experienced a cargo airdrop first-hand. This demonstrated the 314th AW's operational capabilities and the unique role these aircraft play in fulfilling the Air Force's mission.

“Showcasing our flight operations and the airdrop to Chief Apticar is not something a lot of people get to see or be a part of,” said Forbes. “I think it's safe to say it might be the most memorable part of the day.”

Following his flight experience, Apticar's visit continued with a stop at the 314th Maintenance Group, where Tech. Sgt. Samantha Adams, 314th MXG maintenance management NCO in charge, noted his dedication to connecting with each member. 

“Chief Apticar's genuine commitment to engaging with the team was evident as he invested time in understanding our backgrounds, roles, and past experiences,” said Adams.

Apticar emphasized the importance of fostering dynamic and responsive Non-Commissioned Officer leadership within the 314th AW, creating an environment where growth and improvement are encouraged and supported. 

The mantra of 'OWN IT,' which stands for opportunity without negotiation, resonates deeply within Apticar's vision. 

“These NCOs serve as the backbone of our Air Force, guiding their fellow Airmen with resilience and adaptability,” said Apticar. “As we gear up for the challenges ahead, it's imperative for every NCO to step up, ‘OWN IT,’ and be ready to tackle any task to support their team. Ultimately, it's their ownership that will propel our success.”