AMC leadership visits Team McChord on listening tour

  • Published
  • By SrA Sara Hoerichs

Air Mobility Command (AMC) leadership visited Team McChord as part of a listening tour of AMC bases, Sept. 2-3.

Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, AMC commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick, AMC command chief, met with Team McChord Airmen and learned about their unique mission.

“I'm so humbled to lead the most amazing Airmen in our Air Force,” Van Ovost said. “Air Mobility Command, with our four main mission sets of airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and global air mobility support, is just amazing, and AMC Airmen do those missions every day.”

Of those four mission sets, Team McChord Airmen with the 62nd Airlift Wing, 627th Air Base Group and 446th AW, perform three - airlift, aeromedical evacuation and global air mobility support.

“As we went to the different units on this installation, we saw nothing but pride, an overwhelming amount of pride in what they do,” Kruzelnick said. “That’s something you can’t teach. It’s something you just have to have.”

AMC has faced many of the same challenges the rest of the Air Force and the nation has faced in recent months, including bias and racial discrimination issues, global pandemic responses, and resiliency in the face of current events.

Van Ovost said that ensuring everyone is given the same opportunities to succeed isn’t just a task for leadership. Every Airman has a role in creating a culture of equality within the Air Force.

AMC is reviewing existing regulations to ensure they are still applicable to the current Air Force.

“We're going to take a clear-eyed look at those policies, and if they don't make sense right now, we need to get rid of them or modify them,” Van Ovost said. “I am looking to you, Team McChord. Tell us if you found something in a regulation that doesn't make sense. Bring it to our attention. We can use everybody's eyes on this, the whole diverse team because the last thing we want to do is slow down these amazing Airmen by some outdated regulations.”

Race and diversity aren’t the only things AMC leadership is focused on. The coronavirus pandemic is a challenge AMC Airmen are meeting with a blend of past training and new innovation.

“COVID has provided us an opportunity to operate in another contested environment,” Van Ovost said. “We’ve been training in what we call ATSO, ability to survive and operate, for things like chemical and biological threats since basic training. This is ATSO with another flavor.”

The threats might have changed but the mission has remained the same. Airmen have been called on to find ways to combat the virus while continuing to provide global airlift.

“We have to deliver protection for our nation and our allied partners, and we do that through full spectrum readiness so we had to rethink how we maintain our proficiencies in this contested environment,” Kruzelnick said. “Our Airmen had to figure out how to move COVID patients without ever having a playbook for it. They drew something up and 88 days later, there’s a negatively pressurized container that we can move patients in. That’s the thought process we need.”

Kruzelnick said that the pandemic hasn’t just brought opportunities to innovate. The stress of the coronavirus pandemic has increased the focus on resiliency. Not only are education and resources important for Airmen’s resiliency, a culture is being developed where asking for and receiving help is encouraged.

“We’re trying to establish a command culture where, if you’re not feeling your best, you feel comfortable going to a supervisor or someone within your chain of command,” Kruzelnick said.

Resiliency is vital, not just for the duration of the pandemic but for future fights, Van Ovost said. Whether pandemics, natural disasters, armed conflicts or just day-to-day life, Airmen will always have to deal with some level of stress.

“As we move into the future with new contested environments and the high end fight, there’s going to be a lot of stress and pressure on our Airmen,” Van Ovost said. “We have to ensure that they’re resilient and that we’ve provided them opportunities to develop themselves to be more resilient.”

Throughout their tour, Van Ovost and Kruzelnick not only saw Team McChord’s variety of mission capabilities, but McChord Airmen’s dedication to that mission.

“There are some amazing Airmen here,” Van Ovost said. “We recognize the hard problems that are out there and this team is dedicated to solving them.