Dover AFB demonstrates readiness for 18th Air Force command chief
By Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 19, 2021
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --
Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, visited Dover Air Force Base Feb. 11-12, witnessing firsthand how Team Dover Airmen and Guardians contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness.
“Team Dover is not only critical to the 18th Air Force mission, but vital to the projection of our nation’s airpower,” said Bickley. “Dover operates and maintains the largest aerial port in the Department of Defense...the heartbeat of air mobility.”
Dover AFB supports 20% of the nation’s strategic airlift. While airlift and logistics capabilities are critical to that mission, Bickley made a point to visit the support agencies and shift workers like aircraft maintenance, survival evasion resistance and escape, and security forces.
“Shift workers typically don’t see many visitors, and I appreciate any opportunity to hang out and thank them for all they do for our Air Force,” said Bickley. “Obviously, spending time with the defenders brings me back to my roots. They have a tough mission, which is often taken for granted…until we need them. I am proud to have worn the beret and will always have a special place in my heart for security forces.”
Bickley also visited the Tactical and Leadership Nexus, a first-of-its-kind, permanent, integrated, combat and leadership facility designed to support the development of multi-capable Airmen and Guardians.
“TALN provides a great venue for tactical training, yet the ‘tactical thinking’ our Airmen learn is even more impressive,” said Bickley. “This mindset will be critical in future conflicts with degraded or zero communication, which will require Airmen to think and execute independently, within the bounds of their commander’s intent. I’d love to see more bases have training programs similar to TALN.”
A key component to the combat mindset is resiliency, and Bickley says now more than ever we need Airmen and leaders’ inner strength as we navigate a tumultuous global environment.
"We’ve got racial tensions at an all time high, we’ve got suicides, we’ve got COVID and people are stressed out." said Bickley. “Now more than ever in the United States Air Force, we need leaders putting eyes on airmen.”
For Bickley, that’s a charge he takes seriously as a leader and fellow Airman.
“One of the main responsibilities at 18th Air Force is to present deployable aviation, support equipment and multiskilled expeditionary combat forces,” said Bickely. “This piece of our mission set dovetails nicely into my goals and quite frankly my passion: making sure our Airmen are properly organized, trained, and equipped for our combatant commands and Air Expeditionary Force operational deployment requirements. The commander and I take this charge seriously.”
Beyond taking care of Airmen on the job, Bickley also focuses on taking care of Airmen and Guardians at home.
“A ready family means a ready Airman.” said Bickley. “Our families sacrifice so much for us to execute the mission…both in garrison and deployed. We owe them the very best infrastructure and support we can provide… If we take care of the warfighter, they’ll take care of the mission.”