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18th Air Force Commander visits Pope

  • Published
  • By Marvin Krause
  • 43rd Airlift Group Public Affairs
Lt. Gen. Darren W. McDew, 18th Air Force commander, along with Chief Master Sgt. Vicki Gamble, 18th Air Force command chief, met with Airmen of the 440th Airlift Wing and 43rd Airlift Group here Feb. 25 - March 1 during a visit to observe the group's mission firsthand.
During the visit, General McDew met Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the commanding general of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Ft. Bragg and Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., the commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division. He also held an "all call" with Pope Airmen and observed the Joint Operation Access Exercise, which brings together hundreds of total force mobility Airmen, U.S. Army Soldiers and Canadian Forces servicemembers to exercise as part of the Global Response Force. The GRF is a joint force that can deploy on short notice anywhere in the world by land, air, or sea to conduct a variety of missions. As an element of the GRF, the 43rd Airlift Group provides precise outload, en route support, and mobility operations supporting the 82nd Airborne Division.

During the "All Call", McDew recognized three Pope Airmen selected for promotion to the grade of senior master sergeant: Master Sgt. Sigrid Carrero-Perez, 43rd Operations Support Squadron, Master Sgt. Sherod Thompson, 43rd Medical Squadron, and Master Sgt. Kelly Young, 2nd Airlift Squadron. He also thanked all of the Airmen in attendance for their service to the Nation.

"If General Welsh, our Chief of Staff, were standing here right now, he would want to thank you personally." McDew said. "I'm the guy that gets a chance to do it. General Selva would say those exact same words."

Acknowledging the current environment of uncertainty, McDew challenged Airmen to be bold, risk-taking, innovative leaders in order to lead the military to continued success. In particular, he asked them to draw on their hard-earned experience.

"You are the most battle-tested warriors we've had in our history. I would also say that you are the best Air Force we've ever had - individually and collectively. You have evolved through some of the toughest years in our history and have excelled. For the last eleven years you have made the mission happen in some pretty challenging environments. Now, I'm going to ask you to take what you've learned in the AOR, take that bravado, take that spirit, take all of that you've learned and bring it home," he said.

McDew also charged servicemembers to leave worry about budget uncertainties to senior leaders and instead focus on the mission.

"You just keep getting it done safely and effectively like you always do. Don't let it affect your job. Don't let it injure somebody; don't let it damage an aircraft," he said.