Columbus’s new command chief integrates into wing mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Command chief master sergeant’s play a critical role in any wing’s mission, and it is their responsibility when arriving at a new base to not only learn their way around but to become familiar with the mission, unit and people.

Chief Master Sergeant Trevor James, 14th Flying Training Wing command chief, began his immersion Jan. 16, 2020, on Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., by taking a tour through the 14th Operations Group, where he met Airmen and their family members of each squadron.

Lt. Col. Tom McElhinney III, 14th OG commander, sat down with James to discuss pilot training, aircraft movements, maintenance and other fundamental aspects of the group.

“I have got nine squadrons in the 14th OG, five flying training squadrons, a reserve squadron, and an off-base squadron at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia”, McElhinney said. “With over 700 students, including 25 international student pilots, we focus first and foremost every day on safe and compliant operations making sure we don’t speed ahead before we are ready.”

While touring and getting briefed about each specific site, James immersed himself into learning the mission, people, visions, syllabus and focus areas of each flying training squadron at Columbus. Along with learning about each squadron’s accomplishments, he also expected to hear about any shortcomings.

On one of his stops through the T-6 Texan II Squadrons, James visited the virtual reality flight simulation room where he was able to pilot a T-6 simulation, the latest in Columbus AFB’s cutting edge technology. The instructor pilots explained to him exactly how the simulators help student pilots learn and improve on their existing skills through flight simulation practices.

After visiting all the flying training squadrons, James was routed to the 14th Operations Support Squadron to see how they support the creation of pilots. Along with meeting leaders he made it a point to seek the enlisted Airmen and give them an opportunity to voice concerns and ask questions.

James mentioned how it is worthwhile just to be able to hear the Airmen’s thoughts and wanted to use this immersion as an opportunity to see firsthand how they operate in their field.

James visited the Weather flight and Base Operations for a full dive into the importance of their jobs in relation to training new aviators. They displayed weather patterns near the base and the movements of recent storms.

James also visited the air traffic control tower, where he was met by members of Radar Approach Control (RAPCON), tower controllers, and Radar, Airfield and Weather Systems (RAWS) Airmen.

The RAWS unit explained how it supports base and regional radar equipment to James. They displayed how the ground-to-air radios and weather systems that support air traffic control, the National Weather Service, and command and control are vital to the wings mission.

RAPCON and tower controllers gave James the tour of the lower and upper sections of the control tower. James was able to see up close how each section works with base aircraft and coordinate with other base agencies to keep the airfield at a high level of readiness.

James continued his immersion the next day with a trip to the 14th Medical Group and 14th Wing Staff Agency, touring the building and all the squadrons inside.

Airmen from every department in the 14th MDG, and WSA got to meet James as they explained their job, and their importance to serving the Airmen on base and the community members around it.

James will continue his immersion throughout his stay at Columbus with plans to visit the 14th Mission Support Group next.