What the CSAF wants us to know
By Colonel Eric Theisen, 14th Operations Group commander
/ Published August 07, 2007
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
The primary mission of the BLAZE team here at Columbus AFB, building the World's Best Warriors, Leaders and Professional Military Pilots, dovetails nicely into three things the Chief of Staff of the Air Force wants everyone to know. The following three are the priorities for the USAF: Winning the Global War on Terrorism, Developing Airmen and Recapitalization.
The pilots we train today, in just a short while, will be on the front lines fighting this war and supporting our nation's objectives. We must instill a warrior mindset and give them the tools they need to prosecute the war. As General Moseley stated, "This Global War on Terror imposes on Airmen a new steady state of accelerated operations and personnel tempo, as well as a demand for unprecedented speed, agility and innovation in defeating unconventional and unexpected threats." In addition to training new pilots, Columbus has Airmen-Warriors from across the wing deployed all over the globe supporting the GWOT. Making sure we are mentally and physically ready to deploy should be an everyday part of our lives.
The Air Force needs leaders at all levels. Developing Airmen begins when we accept our oath, as both officer and enlisted. The tenets of Integrity, Excellence and Service before Self should be with us constantly, on and off duty. We all need to embrace the Wingman concept and be responsible for ourselves, others and our families. I have seen one too many of our Airmen fall into the trap of trying to do everything alone. Teamwork and being a good Wingman will ensure success. In place at home or deployed, Airmen and their families are the most important priority and represent the key to success in winning the Global War on Terror.
The Air Force needs to maintain dominance across all domains by Recapitalizing the Force. We are in the middle of recapitalization and modernization here at Columbus. We are more than halfway through our T-37/T-6 transition. The modern T-6 will ensure our primary students are getting the best training possible. Our T-38s are receiving the Propulsion Modernization Program upgrade and soon will be modified with a new ejection seat system. Since we have converted to the "C" model T-38, our fighter- and bomber-bound students are training with the best avionics and platform ever. The T-38C, with continued improvement will be training our pilots for years to come. This is especially important for the Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals mission; the 49th Fighter Training Squadron will be training future Raptor and Lightning II pilots, and need modern avionics for that task. The T-1, although a relatively new training system, is still the best platform to teach students the mobility mission. A future upgrade to the T-1 simulator will ensure the best training possible for our T-1 students.
Recapitalization is not just iron on the ramp. Through the concerted efforts of all BLAZE team members, we have one of the best airfields in the Air Education and Training Command. Over the last several years, major improvement projects spearheaded by our Mission Support Group partners and Airfield Management, have gained us a new Radar Approach and Tower facility, major runway renovations at the main base and our auxiliary field, airfield communication upgrades, main ramp reconstruction, and the upcoming completion of the sun shelter project. Their hard work has paid off to ensure we have the best facility to train our new pilots in the years to come.
As global threats continue to increase, everyone must know the Air Force priorities. Meeting these challenges will require bold new initiatives and continuous improvement in the way we do things. Our nation must have an agile, adaptable, persistent, lethal and surge-ready air, space and cyberspace force. We will remain steadfast in our commitment to fly and fight for our nation's freedoms, rights and interests.