18th AF leadership visits America’s Airlift Wing

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Smoot
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The top leaders from 18th Air Force visited the 62nd Airlift Wing here, April 7-9.

During their visit, Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th AF commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th AF command chief, learned about the wing’s unique mobility mission and met with Airmen across the base, seeing firsthand who makes up Team McChord.

“We have been blown away by the 62nd AW. This is a phenomenal wing with very motivated Airmen who are passionate about their mission and taking care of each other and their families,” Bibb said. “We’ve seen the results over the past year of the 62nd AW moving out with a record year. I’m proud of their work with the PNAF (Prime Nuclear Airlift Force) mission and redeployments out of Syria. I’ve also seen great success with Operation Deep Freeze and how we’re making that mission happen more efficiently than we’ve done in the past.”

Bibb and Bickley also met with leadership from JBLM’s U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army leadership to learn about how the two military services operate jointly.

“There are numerous opportunities ahead when it comes to training with the Army in this joint base environment,” Bibb said. “We have the same mission as a nation in preparation for the high-end fight, so getting the opportunity to work out the small details and train together is crucial. The opportunities here are like no other place in the world.”

This was the first time 18th AF leadership has been able to visit the 62nd AW since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. Although COVID-19 slowed operations down initially, Team McChord quickly got back in the groove and accomplished its mission with more efficiency and even became more innovative.

“COVID has definitely affected us, but I have been very proud of our Airmen for looking at innovative ways to continue to train and get after it,” Bibb said. “During the first couple of months, we had to figure out circumstances, such as ‘who’s going to work from home’ and ‘how are we going to facilitate childcare’ but through innovative thinking, our Airmen have really succeeded in doing the joint mission. Some of the remote capabilities have forced us to break through barriers we haven’t seen before and will help us with future readiness.”

After more than a year living in the “new normal,” Bibb asked Airmen to continue to be resilient, but also asked them to be incredible Airmen. Bibb asked Airmen to be the best they could be and to focus on their core values … to make sure Airmen are living up to the proud heritage of the 62nd AW and the U.S. Air Force.

With more than 400 aircraft across 12 wings, the 18th AF supports Air Mobility Command’s worldwide mission of providing rapid global mobility to America’s armed forces through airlift, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation.

“We depend on McChord to save lives with short-notice aerial evacuation missions anytime there is an American in danger ... it has always been impressive,” Bibb said. “Then I was able to come to this wing and see firsthand what your team does and see what incredible Airmen you have here, it’s very motivational.”