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Wing initiatives, innovation highlight discussion during ACC commander visit

man speaking to crowd

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, speaks during an all-call event at the 552nd Air Control Wing, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, July 20, 2021. Kelly fielded questions from 552nd ACW Airmen and discussed training, innovation, capabilities and other efforts to accelerate change and bring the future faster. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Three men standing in a room with computer screens behind them.

U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, left, speaks with U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joshua Benoit, 966th Airborne Air Control Squadron airborne radio operator, center, and U.S Air Force Airman 1st Class Colton Hotvedt, 552nd Training Support Squadron student airborne surveillance technician, right, during a visit to 552nd Air Control Wing’s Student Innovation Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, July 20, 2021. Kelly sat in on training classes and discussed Formal Training Unit innovations and capabilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Two men looking at an airplane

U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Anthony Caristi, 552nd Air Control Wing Civil Engineering director, left, and U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, right, look at an E-3 Sentry aircraft during a tour of the 552nd ACW facilities at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, July 20, 2021. Caristi and Kelly were discussing plans for facility repairs and upgrades to prepare for future missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Man shaking hands with woman, with line of folks waiting

U.S. Air Force Maj. Solange Douglass, 963rd Airborne Air Control Squadron Current Operations Office, right, is coined by U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, left, during his visit to the 552nd ACW at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, July 20, 2021. Solange spearheaded several efforts to better meet the needs of female Airmen in the wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Two men shaking hands

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Gene Kirkland, Air Force Sustainment Center commander, left, greets U.S. Air Force Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, right, prior to a visit to the 552nd Air Control Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, July 19, 2021. This is Kelly’s second trip to Tinker this year; in April he and Kirkland toured the F135 jet engine Heavy Maintenance Center. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kimberly Woodruff)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

Air Combat Command’s top leaders stopped by the 552nd Air Control Wing July 20, 2021, to learn about new wing initiatives and spend time with Airmen.

During the visit, Gen. Mark Kelly commander of ACC and Command Chief Master Sgt. David Wade, of ACC also discussed innovations and capabilities, mission readiness, and weapons systems to accelerate change and bring the future faster.

“Our Air Force has to be able to compete in the highly contested sovereigns; developing Airmen to be specialists is widening the breadth of capabilities,” said Gen. Mark Kelly

One of the two new initiatives discussed during the general’s visit is the Combat Air Forces Forced Generation model that is based on the way the Navy handles deployments. The CAFFORGEN model is a four-bin model of training, deploying, resetting and being ready to go again.

The second initiative is Combat Oriented Maintenance Organization that will align maintenance squadrons with operations squadrons supporting the development of relationships between the maintainers and the air crews.

In response to skepticism of new initiatives Kelly said, “If we stay entrenched in history, we will be part of history.” He explained that modifications are necessary to achieve mission readiness and combat conventional deterrence.

When Kelly was at Tinker in April to visit the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex’s F135 Heavy Maintenance Center, he took time to stop by the 552nd ACW to talk about the status of the wing’s facilities and the aging infrastructure.

The most recent visit allowed the general to get a better understanding of how the wing continues to provide combat-ready theater battle management forces and ground mobile command control and communications radar units for combatant commanders worldwide despite those constraints. According to Kelly, he sees similar infrastructure issues across Air Combat Command.

During the visit, Kelly also recognized outstanding performers Staff Sgt. John Espiritu with the 552nd Air Control Group, Master Sgt. Sean Baek with the 552nd Maintenance Group, Staff Sgt. Michael Brum from the 552nd Training and the Operations Group, and Maj. Solange Douglass with the 552nd Operations Squadron. Additionally, Maj. Jessica Beauregard with the 552nd Operations Support Squadron received the ACC level award, Sword Athena 2021.

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.