By Airman 1st Class Harry Brexel
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
On Oct. 31, Airmen from Little Rock Air Force Base took part in a conference that transformed Nashville, Tennessee, into “The Mobility Capital of the World.”
Military members and civilians associated with the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command, converged in Tennessee’s capital for the 46th Annual Airlift/Tanker Association Convention, which consisted of a technology exposition along with an AMC and A/TA symposium.
The A/TA is a private organization headed by past and present mobility Airmen. The organization originally began in July 1969 with about 30 Vietnam War veterans who wanted to set up a reunion meeting. Approximately 45 years later, the A/TA conference has evolved into a major Air Force event with more than 1,500 attendees from around the world.
The 2014 A/TA Convention centered on the organization’s three main objectives: Supporting air mobility Airmen, preserving the air mobility culture and strengthening AMC bonds.
Support of mobility Airmen was provided in an assortment of ways. A plethora of awards were presented to outstanding AMC members, including the A/TA Young Leader Award, Specialized Mission Award and various distinguished aircrew awards. In addition to the award presentations, the A/TA allocated grants and scholarships to outstanding Airmen.
The A/TA honored both current and veteran Airmen during the symposium. The prominent culture of AMC was displayed by recognizing the only living air mobility Medal of Honor recipient, highlighting past air mobility operations, and by inducting distinguished airlifters into the A/TA Hall of Fame.
Prominently, the A/TA convention provided a medium to strengthen and build relationships. Active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian Airmen from AMC were able to exchange information and network at the event. Industry partners had a large presence at the massive mobility meeting during the three-day-long Air Mobility Technology Exposition.
America’s aerospace industry plays a huge role in providing the U.S. Air Force with a decisive military edge. Boeing, Bose, GE Aviation, Lockheed Martin, Rolls-Royce and Gulfstream were just a few of the myriad of companies represented at the technology exposition. The companies displayed new technological developments in their various products and services.
Attendees of the A/TA Convention included Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James, AMC Commander Gen. Darren W. McDew, Col. Patrick Rhatigan, 19th Airlift Wing commander and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody.
The A/TA assembly concluded with a prominent speech by McDew. The AMC commander highlighted the importance of global air mobility throughout his final address.
“Over the past few months alone, our aircraft and Airmen have saved thousands of people through humanitarian missions over Iraq, contributed to counterterrorism operations worldwide and were the first to arrive in Africa to lead the fight against Ebola,” McDew said.
McDew made it clear that air mobility is a core part of the U.S. Air Force.
“You deliver the world,” said McDew, while addressing AMC Airmen. “Together we provide unrivaled global mobility…always. And mobility is airpower.”
McDew thanked AMC Airmen and repeatedly expressed his gratitude for what they do every day.
“I wish you could see you through my eyes, I love what I see,” he said.