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COMACC encourages innovation to accelerate change

Gen. Kelly and Capt. Cummings bumping elbows.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command bumps elbows with Capt. Anthony Cummings, 552nd Training Squadron on April 2. Cummings, along with the rest of his continuous process improvement team were coined for their outstanding performance on the recent CPI event. (Air Force photo by Kimberly Woodruff)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Leaders from across the 552nd Air Control Wing had the opportunity to sit down with Air Combat Command leadership in a roundtable discussion at Tinker Air Force Base, April 2, 2021.

Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, Maj. Gen. Tom Miller, ACC’s director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, and ACC Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade stopped by the wing to discuss developing Airmen, mission readiness, and weapons systems to accelerate change.

Col. Alain Poisson, 552nd ACW commander, said having the bulk of the E-3 Sentry fleet stationed at Tinker Air Force Base increases the Air Force’s ability to generate Airborne Warning and Control System airpower for combatant commanders.

“That’s a challenge for us,” Poisson said. “A good, healthy AWACS fleet, is critical to warfighting commanders.”

Kelly agreed.

“When your squadron is committed to the bin, we should be able to say ‘Tell us where you want them on the globe, we are ready to get out the door in 10 minutes,’” Kelly said. “That is the warfighting construct we would like to have.”

The 552nd ACW provides combat-ready theater battle management forces and ground mobile command control and communications radar units for combatant commanders worldwide. According to Poisson, the ACW is laser focused on squadron and weapons system readiness, but efforts are often hampered by the condition of the facilities across the wing.

“The 1942 hangar looks horrible, and inside are a lot of long-standing safety issues we are trying to rectify,” Poisson said. “We are getting some good help from Air Force civil engineers and have submitted a Facilities Support and Restoration MILCON proposal to remedy these safety concerns and bring the facility into the 21st Century.”

Kelly said he sees similar infrastructure issues across Air Combat Command.

“Everywhere I go, that is a big challenge,” he said, adding that the same is true with aging aircraft. “These airframes came about in a Cold War with Cold War budgets. We’re back in a Cold War, we just don’t have the same money.”

Poisson praised the wing’s innovative Airmen “who are fixing the engines right on the aircraft’s wing where before we would have had to take the engine completely off.”

“They are saving motors by doing that,” Kelly said. “I applaud and encourage innovative ideas like that. To maintain the standard of excellence, the Air Force must accelerate change and prepare for the future, because the status quo will be insufficient and failure is not an option.”

The 552nd ACW is driven to accelerate change to win, and the vision is to revitalize squadron readiness through focused high-end training to provide combat-ready Airmen, families, and weapons systems to warfighting commanders.

During the visit, Kelly recognized five outstanding performers from across the wing who contributed to the Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) event that will be key to the ACW accelerating change; Capt. Anthony Cummings, 552 Training Squadron, Maj. Joshua Conder, 552 Maintenance Group, Master Sgt. Shawn Cleophas, 552 wing staff agency, Master Sgt. Kimberly Van Wormer, 552 MXG, and WO Raymond Moggy, 552 Operations Group.

The CPI event took on the challenge of providing role-focused sorties to maximize training for specific crew positions and that by establishing a scheduling process, specific fly window, and bundling maintenance requirements, it would ensure students are accelerated through their training pipeline to the combat squadrons.

During the day, the ACC Command Chief Master Sergeant visited with Airmen and non-commissioned officers across the wing to discuss topics such as racial disparity, diversity, inclusion, the new Airmen leadership qualities for evaluations, emotional intelligence, and the Secretary of Defense’s Extremism Stand-Down.

In discussing the new ALQs for evaluations, Wade said it is possible for raters to observe emotional intelligence, but it is more difficult to rate an Airman, so there is some training left to do.

“Developing Airman takes a lot of time, but this is important stuff. What I’d like to do is to find a system that works,” Wade said.

Wade coined four individuals; Technical Sgt. Christopher Gransbury, 552 ACW, Technical Sgt. Brady Nicholls, 552 Operations Support Squadron, Technical Sgt. Elliot Pavlik, 552 MXS, and A1C Ray Smith, 552 Air Control Network Squadron.

Wade then challenged the Airmen to look for development opportunities and for “a change in your life because doing something different motivates you to want to stick around.”

The 552nd ACW provides combat-ready theater battle management forces and mobile command control, and communications by deploying and supporting these forces worldwide ensuring combat capability for all peacetime and contingency operations.