ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Airmen from the 97th Air Mobility Wing showcased their training mission to the Air Mobility Command leadership team during a visit here Feb. 8, 2021.
Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, AMC commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick, AMC command chief, toured the installation to witness the capabilities of the 97th Operations Group and to meet with Airmen.
“It is important to visit the 97th AMW because it’s invaluable for leadership to hear and see firsthand how this team is executing the training requirements vital to AMC,” said Van Ovost. “The 97th may fall under AETC, but AMC has a huge stake in the mission here due to the enormous mobility training footprint. Rapid Global Mobility begins here, and no briefing can substitute for Chief Kruzelnick and I coming in person to see the great things you all are doing, and also to understand how we can help at our level to ensure the training mission continues to be a shining example of how to grow our future air mobility warriors.”
Key stops for the visit included the three formal training units: the 54th Air Refueling Squadron, 56th Air Refueling Squadron, and 58th Airlift Squadron. Having the 97th AMW student’s future and current leadership visit the FTUs allowed a wider perspective on the development of mobility aircrew.
"The 58th AS, trains every single C-17 [Globemaster III] pilot and loadmaster that goes into AMC, and our instructors will all eventually go back to AMC,” said Lt. Col Michael Rasinski, 58th AS commander. “Although we are [Air Education and Training Command] and this is the AMC commander visiting, we all have a huge impact on the mobility Air Force world."
The tour concluded with a “Formal Training Unit Next” brief which focused on the future of training mobility Airmen, and a visit with 97th AMW instructors to discuss issues and challenges.
"It's important for the supported command, in this case Air Mobility Command and their commander, to engage directly with the instructors who produced the student pilots and aviators," said Lt. Col. Matthew Tarnowski, 97th Training Squadron commander. "They're going to show up at their bases and perform the mission that they’re responsible for. Creating that connective tissue directly with human engagement with the four star commander is really critical, not only for their development, but also to create that cohesion across major commands."
Visiting the home of the formal training unit of the C-17, KC-46, and the KC-135 Stratotanker gave the AMC command team a front row seat to see what mobility’s hometown does to train mobility Airmen.
“I was very impressed by Mobility Hometown’s total force Airmen,” said Van Ovost. “Their training capabilities and culture are critical to rapid global mobility and our ability to accelerate change to dominate future operations in the contested environment. The trainees coming out of the pipeline at Altus have a thirst for knowledge that assures me our future is in great hands.”