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ACC commander witnesses integrated readiness

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, right, poses for a photo with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division commander, during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron and 10th Mountain Division, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, right, poses for a photo with U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division commander, during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron and 10th Mountain Division, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, views joint terminal attack controller training equipment during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, views joint terminal attack controller training equipment during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, center, listens to questions over lunch during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, center, listens to questions over lunch during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, far right, Lt. Col. Richard Fournier, 20th Air Operations Support Squadron commander, center, and Maj. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander, view joint terminal attack controller training equipment during Holmes’ visit to the 20th ASOS, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Gen. Mike Holmes, commander of Air Combat Command, far right, Lt. Col. Richard Fournier, 20th Air Operations Support Squadron commander, center, and Maj. Gen. Scott J. Zobrist, 9th Air Force commander, view joint terminal attack controller training equipment during Holmes’ visit to the 20th ASOS, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Holmes visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Chief Master Sergeant Frank H. Batten III, command chief of Air Combat Command, greets Airmen during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Batten visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

Chief Master Sergeant Frank H. Batten III, command chief of Air Combat Command, greets Airmen during his visit to the 20th Air Support Operations Squadron, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum, N.Y. Batten visited Airmen belonging to the 14th, 20th and 682d ASOS, and 18th Weather Squadron Detachment 1 during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, to observe Airmen fully engaged in roles they would fill for the Army while downrange. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Janiqua P. Robinson)

FORT DRUM, N.Y. --

The commander of Air Combat Command visited Airmen belonging to the 18th Air Support Operations Group, during Warfighters Exercise 18-1, Oct. 9, 2017, at Fort Drum.

Gen. Mike Holmes observed the WFX, which is designed to test a commander’s ability to direct their forces and successfully defeat the enemy. WFX 18-1 tested the 10th Mountain Division commander, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Walter E Piatt. It also assessed the ability of everyone under his command to successfully execute their missions, including Air Force assets allocated to him.

“This was a chance for me to see them in action alongside the Army division they’re aligned with,” said Holmes. “It’s about developing our leaders in our air support operations group and squadrons to bring everything the Air Force provides in combined arms combat alongside the Army.”

Whenever Soldiers or Airmen go downrange, a commander is responsible for every decision made, from deciding which teams battle what threats to approving strategies and providing additional support.

“This exercise helps the Air Force and Army build our readiness to face-off in contested environments against peer adversaries,” said Holmes. “It’s really great to get out to where Airmen are doing the business of the Air Force. It helps us to remember that our job is to make sure they have the training, tools and equipment they need to succeed while they’re finding new ways to win.”

Airmen have to find ways to be successful as tactical air control party, joint terminal attack controllers and weather technicians out in the field and there was no better way to highlight their capabilities than to show Holmes what they do.

“It’s a pretty big deal when a four-star MAJCOM commander is willing to spend a whole day with us to look at how we’re integrating in a division-level exercise,” said Col. Dane Crawford, 18th Air Support Operations Group commander. “He also spent time talking to our Airmen and heard them communicate the shortfalls and successes we’ve had and that’s huge for our community.”

While the ASOG community appreciated the time Holmes spent at the squadron and talking with Airmen, Holmes also took the opportunity to listen and learn from them.

“For me this visit was about what I could learn from them,” said Holmes. “I’m going to visit their parent wing, the 93 Air Ground Operations Wing in a few weeks, but this was a chance for me to see them in action. I got to see the work they’re doing and how they’re finding new and better ways to integrate the forces together, as well as some of the challenges they face doing that.

“The best part about my job is that I have some power and authority to fix things that are getting in the way of Airmen doing the job we ask them to,” added Holmes.