Military News

Monday, September 14, 2015

COMACC visits Seymour Johnson AFB, talks priorities, future

by Senior Airman Brittain Crolley
4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


9/11/2015 - SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- U.S. Air Force Gen. Hawk Carlisle, commander of Air Combat Command, visited Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, Sept. 8-9, to further immerse himself in the 4th Fighter Wing's mission and one of its most prominent initiatives, the "Make It Better" program. The "Make It Better" campaign directly contributes to multiple quality of life programs across the installation.

During the event, the general received briefings on base programs, visited numerous Airmen around the installation and held an all call to discuss his priorities and vision for ACC and Seymour Johnson AFB.

"I've been thoroughly impressed with some of the things the 4th Fighter Wing has done to take care of our Airmen and their families," Carlisle said. "The Make It Better campaign is a template we can use across the Air Force to further invest in the great men and women we have in our service."

Another positive trend Carlisle noticed in the wing's efforts to take care of Airmen and their families was the rapid development in the Key Spouse program, which has nearly doubled its numbers to more than 160 members during the past year. As an all-volunteer force, key spouses dedicate countless hours to making sure Airmen and their families are well taken care of, especially when service members are separated from their families.

The program falls directly in line with one of Carlisle's main priorities he set upon becoming ACC commander.

"It's our job to take care of our Airmen and their families," Carlisle said in a note to the men and women of ACC. "Our Airmen are our asymmetric advantage over any adversary that we may face, so we must make sure they're resilient and have everything they need to face the unique challenges of military life."

Carlisle also took time to visit the source of Strike Eagle airpower, the base's F-15E formal training units, to learn more about Exercise Razor Talon, the 4th FW's massive, monthly air-sea exercise.

The exercise incorporates assets from multiple bases along the East Coast to promote joint service synergy and expand on the air-sea battle concept.

With the divestiture of the A-10, Carlisle said he believes the Strike Eagle could soon see an increase in roles, from combat search and rescue to airborne forward air control missions, which will keep it in the Air Force's arsenal for "a long time to come."

"The F-15E community is the bedrock of our ability to do our mission anywhere in the world," Carlisle said. "It's an airplane that can survive and operate in a contested environment, and as we continue to modernize it and we look at avionics upgrades and the weapons that we're developing for the airplane, we're going to continue to take advantage of it. The F-15E, with its capabilities, is so much a key to our future."

That future, Carlisle acknowledged, holds a lot of uncertainties. He said although ACC is currently in a good state, he fully recognizes that it is spread thin, and the demand for combat air power far exceeds the supply our Airmen can provide.

"We simply can't continue at the pace we're currently working at," he said.

The visit concluded with an all call to discuss these upcoming challenges and changes, but moreover, Carlisle wanted to thank Seymour Johnson Airmen for their service and sacrifice as well as their continued excellence in completing the mission.

"To the 4th Fighter Wing and all the men and women doing their job, and their families, thank you for what you're doing. You're great Americans, you're great Airmen, and I can't thank you enough. We've got a lot of challenges ahead of us, and we need you."

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