Commander’s Call Highlights Year in Review, Ongoing and Future Operations Published Oct. 13, 2022 By Master Sergeant John Gordinier 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Team McConnell Airmen heard first-hand on 22nd Air Refueling Wing’s past year as well as ongoing operations and future expectations during an Oct. 3 Commander’s Call, hosted by Col. Nate Vogel, 22nd ARW commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Laura Hoover, 22nd ARW command chief. This was the first of three Commander’s Calls over three days for the wing, split by groups to balance mission commitments. After a video and introduction, the Command Team highlighted over the past year how the Wing has engaged in the Commander’s lines of effort, which are focused on Airmen, Air Refueling operations, base and mission infrastructure, community, and McConnell families “When it comes to Airmen, we wanted to make sure that you were trained for the mission and that you are resilient. Future missions will demand resiliency of you and your family,” said Vogel. “Developing our force remains a priority.” On air refueling operations, Vogel boasted about his Airmen over the past year. “Three deployments with less than 24 hours’ notice in the past year, all unscheduled, and our Airmen executed it flawlessly,” he said. “That's amazing and a ton of work. Also, not only did we do three employment concept exercises to three separate geographic areas of responsibility, but we conducted ACE (Agile Combat Employment) events in austere locations. Those are capabilities that will be needed for the next fight.“ On the topic of installation infrastructure, Vogel said the Wing made big leaps forward and talked about future improvements. After highlighted the new dorm kitchen renovation and expansion as well as a micro market for swing and mid-shift Airmen, he stated that lactation pods and rooms have been and will continue to be added to buildings throughout the installation. For future improvements, the old Burger King building will become a Food Truck Park in order to provide more meal options for McConnell service members and families. Plans are in the works for the Base Theater to receive a new projection and sound system for future events and all calls. Regarding community and family initiatives, Vogel informed Airmen that the Kansas State Legislature passed a law for school choice. “In about two years, children that are in this area can live in one town and can go to a different school district,” he said. “What this means for you, as an example, is that you can live in Wichita and send your child to a school in Haysville using the excess capacity that the school district has. We are currently working towards ensuring military members have priority when it comes to using that excess capacity.” Wing Airmen received an unclassified intelligence brief on recent Russian and Chinese actions and Capt. Nate Tousley, 22nd Operations Support Squadron weapons officer, informed the crowd about future missions and exercises specifically focusing on Exercise Mobility Guardian 2023 while Lt. Col. Andrew Bowers, 22nd Inspector’s General office, informed Airmen on upcoming expectations for the Unit Effectiveness Inspection next year. Capt. Ed Baxter, 22nd Operations Group, spoke on the new Air Force Force Generation Model, also known as AFFORGEN, which is the Air Force-wide change for how to deploy forces. Captain Baxter said McConnell is following Air Mobility Command’s lead in adopting this model for how the Air Force will organize, train and equip. Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander, said, “Our nation’s next fight will have a warfighting environment that is more demanding, challenging, and volatile than ever before. The AFFORGEN model will help us better integrate and present forces faster and smarter, while preserving readiness and increasing deployment cycle predictability for our Airmen and their families.” Chief Hoover concluded the all call and informed Airmen on senior leader focus areas as well as showed gratitude to the force after arriving to the command 60 days ago. Hoover talked about Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s focus areas on securing affordable basic needs for service members to include pay increases, making moves easier, and strengthening support to families including spousal employment opportunities, as well as funding commissaries. "The DAF has set a goal for Commissary patrons to see cost savings at the register of upwards of 25 percent in comparison to shopping off the installation," Hoover said. "The focus is to make sure that necessary goods are affordable for you and your families.” "Thank you for the warm welcome everyone has extended," she continued. "I have been watching all of the incredible things going on in this Wing and I am blown away. Your teams are closing critical capability gaps through innovation and grit, it's impressive. We will continue to move forward, advancing air refueling capabilities all to ensure homeland defense, strategic deterrence, global strike and rapid global mobility. People depend on us, our nation depends on us, and we will be there."