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Team Dover welcomes back 18th Air Force commander

Leaders from the 18th Air Force and 436th Airlift Wing, along with spouses, pose for a group photo in front of a static C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 22, 2020. As Air Mobility Command’s sole numbered air force, 18th Air Force ensures the readiness and sustainment of approximately 36,000 active duty, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen at 12 wings and one stand-alone group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Leaders from the 18th Air Force and 436th Airlift Wing, along with spouses, pose for a group photo in front of a static C-17 Globemaster III at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 22, 2020. As Air Mobility Command’s sole numbered air force, 18th Air Force ensures the readiness and sustainment of approximately 36,000 active duty, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen at 12 wings and one stand-alone group. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, watch a demonstration by Tactics and Leadership Nexus cadre Sept. 23, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after 10 years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. He and Simpson experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured its new facilities, including TALN and Bedrock: the base’s innovation lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, watch a demonstration by Tactics and Leadership Nexus cadre Sept. 23, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after 10 years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. He and Simpson experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured its new facilities, including TALN and Bedrock: the base’s innovation lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Team Dover leaders salute Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, during a base visit Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after ten years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. Bibb experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured new facilities, including the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock Innovation Lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Team Dover leaders salute Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, during a base visit Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after ten years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. Bibb experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured new facilities, including the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock Innovation Lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Tech. Sgt. Hezekiah Barrett, 436th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron force health management noncommissioned officer in charge, briefs Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, on the base’s COVID-19 operations and statistics Sept. 23, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb and Simpson learned how the 436th Medical Group continues to battle COVID-19 by testing, monitoring trends and educating the base populace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Tech. Sgt. Hezekiah Barrett, 436th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron force health management noncommissioned officer in charge, briefs Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, on the base’s COVID-19 operations and statistics Sept. 23, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb and Simpson learned how the 436th Medical Group continues to battle COVID-19 by testing, monitoring trends and educating the base populace. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Standing on top of the wings of a C-5M Super Galaxy, Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, speaks with members accompanying him during his tour of the 436th Maintenance Squadron Isochronal Maintenance Dock, Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB is home to the Air Force’s only isochronal maintenance dock capable of conducting major isochronal inspections of the C-5 aircraft. During a nearly 60-day inspection process, aircraft maintainers strip down the aircraft, looking for any deficiencies, faults, cracks or any other problems in every major aircraft system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Standing on top of the wings of a C-5M Super Galaxy, Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, speaks with members accompanying him during his tour of the 436th Maintenance Squadron Isochronal Maintenance Dock, Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Dover AFB is home to the Air Force’s only isochronal maintenance dock capable of conducting major isochronal inspections of the C-5 aircraft. During a nearly 60-day inspection process, aircraft maintainers strip down the aircraft, looking for any deficiencies, faults, cracks or any other problems in every major aircraft system. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, picks up a 3D-printed object during his tour of the new Bedrock facility at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 23, 2020. Established in 2019, Bedrock’s goal is empowering Airmen to develop
ideas and leverage new technologies to support the warfighter at home station or downrange. Bedrock’s new facility boasts over 5,000 square feet, housing large collaborative workspaces, an event stage, a virtual reality classroom, a podcast studio and a prototyping lab with 3D-printers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Brandan Hollis)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, picks up a 3D-printed object during his tour of the new Bedrock facility at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 23, 2020. Established in 2019, Bedrock’s goal is empowering Airmen to develop ideas and leverage new technologies to support the warfighter at home station or downrange. Bedrock’s new facility boasts over 5,000 square feet, housing large collaborative workspaces, an event stage, a virtual reality classroom, a podcast studio and a prototyping lab with 3D-printers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Brandan Hollis)

James Brown, 436th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center employment program manager, gives a brief to 18th Air Force spouses and 436th Airlift Wing spouses during their tour at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 22, 2020. Shannon Bibb, wife of 18th Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, and retired Master Sgt. Trish Simpson, wife of 18th Air Force command chief Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, toured Dover AFB to experience firsthand the diverse missions and units there.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

James Brown, 436th Force Support Squadron Airman and Family Readiness Center employment program manager, gives a brief to 18th Air Force spouses and 436th Airlift Wing spouses during their tour at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 22, 2020. Shannon Bibb, wife of 18th Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, and retired Master Sgt. Trish Simpson, wife of 18th Air Force command chief Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, toured Dover AFB to experience firsthand the diverse missions and units there. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, test the Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives (MILO) firearm training simulator during their visit Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. As Air Mobility Command’s sole numbered air force, 18th Air Force ensures the readiness and sustainment of approximately 36,000 active duty, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen at 12 wings and one stand-alone group. With more than 400 aircraft, 18th AF supports AMC’s worldwide mission of providing rapid global mobility to America’s armed forces through airlift, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, test the Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives (MILO) firearm training simulator during their visit Sept. 22, 2020, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. As Air Mobility Command’s sole numbered air force, 18th Air Force ensures the readiness and sustainment of approximately 36,000 active duty, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen at 12 wings and one stand-alone group. With more than 400 aircraft, 18th AF supports AMC’s worldwide mission of providing rapid global mobility to America’s armed forces through airlift, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Lt. Col. Jerry Yarrington, 436th Aerial Port Squadron commander, gives a tour of the APS facility to Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, during a base visit Sept. 22, 20202, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after 10 years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. Bibb experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured new facilities, including the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock Innovation Lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Lt. Col. Jerry Yarrington, 436th Aerial Port Squadron commander, gives a tour of the APS facility to Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, during a base visit Sept. 22, 20202, at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Bibb, who previously served as the commander of the 9th Airlift Squadron, returned to Dover AFB after 10 years to learn about how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. Bibb experienced firsthand Dover AFB’s diverse missions and toured new facilities, including the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock Innovation Lab. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Faith Schaefer)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, is briefed at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen by Tech. Sgt. Michelle Johnson, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Fisher House noncommissioned officer in charge, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 23, 2020. AFMAO Airmen highlighted their mission to the general and command chief during their visit to Dover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kaitlyn Maricle)
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Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, is briefed at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen by Tech. Sgt. Michelle Johnson, Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations Fisher House noncommissioned officer in charge, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 23, 2020. AFMAO Airmen highlighted their mission to the general and command chief during their visit to Dover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kaitlyn Maricle)

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, are briefed at Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 23, 2020. AFMAO Airmen highlighted their mission to the general and command chief during their visit to Dover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kaitlyn Maricle)
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Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, are briefed at Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations, Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Sept. 23, 2020. AFMAO Airmen highlighted their mission to the general and command chief during their visit to Dover. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Kaitlyn Maricle)

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, returned to Dover Air Force Base over 10 years after relinquishing his command of the 9th Airlift Squadron to visit Airmen alongside Chief Master Sgt. Chris Simpson, 18th Air Force command chief, and their spouses Shannon and Trish, respectively Sept. 21-23.  

Bibb’s first base visit after assuming command of the 18th Air Force focused on learning more about Dover’s wide-ranging missions and the Airmen from both the 436th Airlift Wing and its mission partners, who make those missions possible.

He was able to see how the base has evolved since his tenure as squadron commander to become an ever-adapting mobility base for the Air Force. During his visit, he had the opportunity to tour two of Dover AFB’s newest facilities: the Tactics and Leadership Nexus and Bedrock, the base’s innovation lab.

TALN hosts a scenario-based training to enhance Airmen’s readiness and hone tactical and leadership skills in order to better face the challenges of tomorrow. TALN hosted its inaugural class on Aug. 25, and Dover Airmen from all career fields are required to participate in the program.

Dover’s new innovation lab, Bedrock, hosts a collaborative and inclusive space for tinkerers and problem-solvers and serves as a wellspring of creativity, producing the kinds of minds that the Air Force will need to win the technological wars of the future.

“It is important to remember the quote from Master Sgt. Paul G. LeBeau, who participated in the Berlin Airlift, ‘Innovation is our foundation,’” said Bibb.

Bibb was able to return to the 9th Airlift Squadron after commanding the squadron almost 10 years ago, from 2006-2009. He held a short All Call with current squadron members.

Bibb and Simpson witnessed firsthand how Team Dover continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic at the 436th Medical Group, where he saw a live demonstration of the testing process.

Afterwards, he toured a Negatively Pressurized Conex within a C-17 Globemaster III static display. The NPC is the latest isolated containment chamber and is designed to mitigate the risks of transporting patients with COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

The tour also showcased the important mission of Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations. AFMAO Airmen fulfill the nation's sacred commitment of ensuring dignity, honor and respect to the fallen and care, service and support to their families.

The 18th Air Force command team also attended a luncheon with the planners of the Pause for Race Relations, which was held Aug. 5-7. During this pause, Dover AFB hosted several different events to encourage honest and respectful conversations about race, justice and equality.

“[This] is really important for what we do every day, because we are not in the business of building Airmen; we’re in the business of building good people,” said Simpson.

Key spouses from 18th Air Force and the 436th Airlift Wing participated in the base tour, in addition to stopping at the child development center and the Airman & Family Readiness Center. These stops showed the spouses the importance of community support and Airmen well-being to mission readiness.

Bibb and Simpson concluded their visit with an All Call addressing Airmen from across Team Dover. They discussed the importance of fostering innovation and being a good wingman throughout the Air Force.

“I am excited to see all the phenomenal work that Airmen from Team Dover are doing to follow along with the Chief of Staff’s priorities to ‘accelerate change or lose,’” said Bibb.