18th Air Force visits McConnell

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Felicia Przydzial
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Major General Corey Martin, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sergeant Tom Blount, 18th Air Force command chief, visited Team McConnell on September 26-28, 2023. The 18th Air Force leadership spent three days visiting and conversing with Airmen about the projects they are currently working on or have recently completed.


"Part of my job is to understand the needs of Colonel Damon and the Airmen of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing, and to advocate for them to General Minihan at Air Mobility Command headquarters” said Martin. "These visits, at times, can bypass many layers of supervision and leadership, enabling us to directly hear from some of the younger Airmen. I believe it enhances our role in advocating for them."


Martin and Blount commenced their visit by touring the Innovation Lab before proceeding to maintenance, where they interacted with Airmen specializing in hydraulics and observed the trainers used at the KC-46 maintenance technical training schoolhouse. At the Robert J. Dole Community Center, they heard from McConnell's physical therapy team and checked out their newly established cohort center. They also paid a visit to the 350th Air Refueling Squadron, The Mission Defense Team at the 22nd Communications Squadron, followed by the 22nd Medical Group, to learn how Airmen utilize simulations to advance their training.


"We've had the chance to see much of the infrastructure, tools, and resources here at McConnell," said Martin. “The mission of the 18th Air Force is to provide ready aircraft and aircrew for whatever the National Command Authority requires of us. The 22nd Air Refueling Wing plays a critical role in providing world-class air refueling to support that mission."


Holly Martin, the spouse of Major General Martin, accompanied him on this visit and had her own itinerary of places to visit. She had the opportunity to meet with McConnell's Key Spouses and explored the helping agencies offered on the base. She toured the base housing and visited the Youth Center and School-Age Children Program to learn about childcare programs offered on the base. Holly Martin also engaged with Airmen from the chapel, the Dole Center, and the Military and Family Readiness Center to understand their contributions to the mission. She later joined Maj. Gen. Martin at the medical group to gain insights into the available care for Airmen and dependents.


"In the end, it's the Airmen who make it all happen,” said Martin. “They are the heart of the force. Air refueling, combined with other aspects of what the 18th Air Force encompasses, including airlift and aeromedical evacuation, represents the crucial capability that can move our joint force rapidly, as we've recently witnessed with the overnight response needs. I observed a motto on the marquee, 'people depend on us, we'll be there,' and it's a motto I had the privilege of witnessing alongside Chief Blount. I depart with confidence, knowing that people can rely on McConnell, and they will always be there."