SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas--Maj. Gen. Patrick Doherty, 19th Air Force commander, has made it a priority to visit all of the flying training wings to immerse Airmen in important issues pertaining to the Numbered Air Force.
Recently, he visited Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas to officiate the 80th Flying Training Wing’s assumption of command. While there, Doherty met with the 80th FTW team which included leaders from each North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) partner nation, to discuss current challenges across the Air Force and innovative initiatives being implemented in order to maintain a lethal and ready force.
“The National Defense Strategy has been recently published and we need to ensure leaders and the instructor corps across the NAF are fully aware of what that entails,” said Doherty. “We have to keep our Airmen up to date on the changing threats to national security, the rise of peer competition, and the importance of what they are doing to innovate our future aviation production engines to make better combat aviators in the future.”
Aircrew engaged with Doherty on his “back to basics” initiative, a result of the Chief of Staff of the Air Force’s Operational Safety Review, where 19th AF has implemented focused and deliberate instructor continuation training.
“This will sharpen the instructor corps flying skills, increase quality instructional techniques through ‘old school’ aircrew academics, and give them time to think, envision and create better pilots faster in the future,” Doherty explained.
He also stressed the importance of focusing and prioritizing flight commander and frontline supervisor development courses, individual adult learning concepts, virtual reality training devices, and the recent breaking news on the successful efforts of the Safety Investigation Board (SIB) to identify the root cause of the recent T-6 On-Board Oxygen Generating System (OBOGS) challenges.
Additionally, he had the chance to fly with the 459th and 89th Flying Training Squadrons on a tactical formation sortie during T-6 continuation training. During the flight, the formation executed tactical flying over North Texas much like would be conducted during a student training sortie and flew a few patterns once they returned to base.
At the assumption of command, Doherty spoke about the changing global environment and the importance of peace through strength.
“America’s military advantage is being challenged in all of the warfighting domains. Complacency and maintaining the status quo is not an option,” Doherty said. “We must accelerate our efforts and fight through bureaucratic organizations, processes, and mindsets, and empower the squadrons and leaders at the lowest level to move out and make us better. The United States and the Air Force need to regain a competitive spirit to build a bigger, more lethal and ready force.”
Doherty also highlighted that production and innovation, under the guidance of smart risk-taking and bold leadership, will be key to solving the Air Force’s current pilot crisis and winning future wars.
This visit to Sheppard AFB is one of many this year where Doherty has engaged with leadership and aircrew to discuss pressing topics and fly with the units under his command, to assess their flying operations and efforts to innovate, and identify the best efforts so that they may be brought to scale.