Thursday, March 3, 2011

TOP STORY > >Black Knights welcome 18th AF commander

The 18th Air Force commander believes Team Little Rock is ready for anything, and he has firsthand experience to prove it.

Lt. Gen. Robert Allardice, 18th Air Force commander, visited Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark. Feb. 22 to 24 and met with Airmen, civilians and local community leaders.

“Team Little Rock is more than just the 19th Airlift Wing,” said General Allardice. “It’s civilian partners, local civic leaders, and families … an entire team working together to accomplish the mission.”

General Allardice was accompanied by his wife, Susan, who met with Team Little Rock Airmen and spouses.

“We had a fantastic visit with Mrs. Allardice,” said Ashley Minihan, wife of the 19th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Mike Minihan. “She was pleased with everything we showed her, but I think she was especially impressed with our Airmen Helping Airmen program, the Exceptional Family Member program and the Key Spouse program.”

General Allardice visited various work centers including the 19th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosives Ordnance Disposal Flight and the Landings at Little Rock and watched as team members made the mission happen.

“The team here at Little Rock is pretty phenomenal,” said General Allardice. “They’re very focused, they care about [the mission], and they care about each other. I really appreciate that.”

After meeting with Airmen, civilians, supervisors, squadron commanders and chiefs, General Allardice saw firsthand the secret of Little Rock’s success.

“Whether it’s control tower [Airmen] doing calisthenics on the way down and going back up again or young Airmen in the maintenance group talking about what they do for a living … what I saw among the Airmen here was pride in what they do and a real passion for combat airlift,” the 18th Air Force commander said.

General Allardice held an all-call during his visit and shared some words of wisdom with Little Rock Airmen. He spoke about the importance of developing resiliency and called on wingmen to check up on each other.

“Comprehensive Airman Fitness is about helping us to understand how to build resiliency among ourselves,” General Allardice said. “In my view, the way to build resilient Airmen and to ensure we have resilient Airmen is to have tight connections at the small team level so that every day we are looking each other in the eye and checking up on each other.”

As Little Rock Airmen prepare for their first full-blown operational readiness inspection since the 1990’s, General Allardice offered some words of encouragement.

“Do not underestimate how difficult it can be,” the general advised. “ORIs by their very nature are complex. Everybody has to be focused and prepared, watch each other constantly and maintain a great attitude. Once you get into the ORI, it’s all about attitude.”

Before he left Little Rock, General Allardice took time to express his appreciation for the men and women who make combat airlift happen.

“It’s a great team here,” said General Allardice, adding that he hoped his visit conveyed his appreciation for the pride, professionalism and passion of Team Little Rock.

“I’m very proud of them,” General Allardice said.

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