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Dover AFB demonstrates readiness for 18th Air Force command chief

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, greets a pair of Team Dover Airmen from the 436th Maintenance Squadron working on the tail of a C-5M Super Galaxy at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. The ISO dock at Dover AFB is the only maintenance dock in the Air Force capable of performing maintenance steering group-3 major inspections of C-5M aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mauricio Campino)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, greets a pair of Team Dover Airmen from the 436th Maintenance Squadron working on the tail of a C-5M Super Galaxy at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. The ISO dock at Dover AFB is the only maintenance dock in the Air Force capable of performing maintenance steering group-3 major inspections of C-5M aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mauricio Campino)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, observes Airmen 1st Class Kyra Williams and Travis Cross Manhart, both 436th Security Forces Squadron response force members, engaging in an active shooter training exercise using the Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives (MILO) firearm training simulator during a tour of the 436th SFS training facility at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb.12, 2021. Bickley visited Dover AFB to experience firsthand how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, observes Airmen 1st Class Kyra Williams and Travis Cross Manhart, both 436th Security Forces Squadron response force members, engaging in an active shooter training exercise using the Multiple Interactive Learning Objectives (MILO) firearm training simulator during a tour of the 436th SFS training facility at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb.12, 2021. Bickley visited Dover AFB to experience firsthand how Dover Airmen contribute to the 18th Air Force mission of warfighter readiness and sustainment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Roland Balik)

Ken Jones, 436th Maintenance Group Continuous Process Improvement management and program analysis coordinator, briefs Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, about tactical combat casualty care training while demonstrating the bleeding feature of a realistic dummy which allows TALN participants to practice proper tourniquet placement during his visit to the Tactics and Leadership Nexus (TALN) facility at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 11, 2021. TALN is a scenario-based training facility designed to enhance readiness and develop multi-capable Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Ken Jones, 436th Maintenance Group Continuous Process Improvement management and program analysis coordinator, briefs Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, about tactical combat casualty care training while demonstrating the bleeding feature of a realistic dummy which allows TALN participants to practice proper tourniquet placement during his visit to the Tactics and Leadership Nexus (TALN) facility at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 11, 2021. TALN is a scenario-based training facility designed to enhance readiness and develop multi-capable Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Airman 1st Class Justin Koors, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant dedicated crew chief, and Airman 1st Class Bradley Brooks, 436th Airlift Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, speak with Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, during a C-5M Super Galaxy static display walk-through at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb.12, 2021. During his visit, Bickley witnessed how Team Dover contributes to the rapid global airlift mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee)

Airman 1st Class Justin Koors, 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant dedicated crew chief, and Airman 1st Class Bradley Brooks, 436th Airlift Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief, speak with Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, during a C-5M Super Galaxy static display walk-through at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb.12, 2021. During his visit, Bickley witnessed how Team Dover contributes to the rapid global airlift mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, speaks with an Airman assigned to the Bedrock innovation lab on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. 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 Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, speaks with an Airman assigned to the Bedrock innovation lab on Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. 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 Senior Airman Christopher Quail)

Staff Sgt. Brianna Holden, 436th Medical Support Squadron outpatient records noncommissioned officer in charge, explains the COVID-19 screening process implemented by the 436th Medical Group to Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, on Dover Air Force Base, Feb.11, 2021. The 436th Medical Group has implemented various procedures in response to COVID-19, including virtual appointments and new pharmacy procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee)

Staff Sgt. Brianna Holden, 436th Medical Support Squadron outpatient records noncommissioned officer in charge, explains the COVID-19 screening process implemented by the 436th Medical Group to Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, on Dover Air Force Base, Feb.11, 2021. The 436th Medical Group has implemented various procedures in response to COVID-19, including virtual appointments and new pharmacy procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, signs a dedicated crew chief  plaque during a C-5M Super Galaxy static display walk-through  at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. During his visit, Bickley witnessed how Team Dover contributes to the rapid global airlift mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee)

Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, signs a dedicated crew chief plaque during a C-5M Super Galaxy static display walk-through at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, Feb. 12, 2021. During his visit, Bickley witnessed how Team Dover contributes to the rapid global airlift mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Cydney Lee)

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.”