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AMC commander experiences how Dover community, base develop future Air Force leaders

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Quail
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, Air Mobility Command commander, along with Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick, AMC command chief, toured Dover Air Force Base Dec. 7-9, 2020, experiencing firsthand how Team Dover trains multi-capable, innovative Airmen and supports future aviation and Air Force leaders.

“The top lift (priority) is developing the force,” said Kruzelnick. “Our best comparative advantage over our enemy is you. We need to invest in you and your family to make sure you are cared for. We are there for you and we are taking care of each other each and every day.”

One of Van Ovost’s first stops was the Delaware Airpark for a civic outreach event. She met with a diverse audience consisting of nearly 70 aviation and Air Force ROTC students from the University of Delaware and Delaware State University, in addition to community leaders. Van Ovost spoke about individuals who inspired her to become a pilot and how she does her best to pave the way, as her role models did for her. She promoted the multitude of opportunities available in civil aviation, the Air Force and Space Force.

“Your aspirations may be different,” said Van Ovost. “Maybe it’s military, maybe it's civilian, but the most important thing is you capitalize on each opportunity.”

Elianna Rothwell, one of the juniors from Delaware State University attending the event, mentioned growing up in Colorado and seeing pilots flying overhead putting out wildfires.

“I was like, Oh my gosh, they’re like real-life superheroes,” Rothwell said. “So I wanted to do something similar to that and that’s when I was introduced to aviation.”

After helping inspire the next generation of aviation leaders, Van Ovost turned her focus towards the base to experience firsthand how Team Dover is developing multi-capable and innovative Airmen.

She and Kruzelnick toured Bedrock, the Dover AFB innovation lab’s, facilities, which offer technological equipment, collaborative spaces and a prototyping lab for problem-solving, tinkerers and all those interested in innovation.

While touring Bedrock, the AMC command team also listened to innovation success stories from units across the base. The 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron Preventative Maintenance Total Force Team partnered with Bedrock to engineer a new sprocket design for the fuel truck R-12 model, prompting the original manufacturer to create a solution that will be implemented Air Force wide and saving approximately 200 man-hours annually.

“We will aggressively expand upon current capabilities to generate and project the force,” Van Ovost said. “Key to that ... mission success is innovation; seeing things as they can be, not how they are.”

During their tour at the Tactics and Leadership Nexus facility, Van Ovost and Kruzelnick experienced the scenario-based training that enhances Airmen’s readiness and hones tactical and leadership skills in order to better face the challenges of tomorrow. TALN culminates in a hands-on experience where students complete mask confidence training, a series of physical puzzles and tactical challenges, and an opposing force group exercise in a simulated deployed environment.

“TALN represents a training paradigm shift that we are currently witnessing throughout the Air Force and our Department of Defense,” said Col. Matthew Jones, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “Eagle Wing is leading the way in developing our Airmen into not only skilled tacticians and strategic leaders but also cross-functional Airmen.”
 
Van Ovost and Kruzelnick concluded their tour at an all-call addressing Team Dover service members and civilians on how Dover AFB plays a critical role in the AMC mission.

“I want to start off with a great big thank you from Chief and me and the entire headquarters,” said Van Ovost. “Thank you for what you do, thank you for looking after each other while getting after the mission.”

Kruzelnick added, “Every Airman we came across knew the mission, every Airman we came across had compassion for what they do and compassion for whom they do it with.”