USTRANSCOM leadership gives thanks to Team Dover

  • Published
  • By Roland Balik/Tech. Sgt. J.D. Strong II
  • 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. - U.S. Air Force Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, U.S. Transportation Command commander, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick, USTRANSCOM command senior enlisted leader, visited Dover AFB, Delaware, Nov. 16, 2023.

Van Ovost and Kruzelnick, accompanied by other leaders from TRANSCOM, visited Dover to thank Airmen for their hard work and dedication to amplifying TRANSCOM’s mission of providing full-spectrum global mobility solutions and enabling capabilities to its customers in peace and war.

“Right now the focus is on you,” Van Ovost told the Airmen gathered around her. “It’s on the fact that you bumped up the mission capable rate.” 

During the visit, Van Ovost spent time with Airmen from the 436th Aerial Port Squadron and toured its Superport before recognizing its outstanding performers. Additionally, she met with the 436th Maintenance Squadron Isochronal (ISO) Maintenance Dock team and thanked them for keeping the largest aircraft in the Air Force inventory, the C-5M Super Galaxy, in the air so it can continue to deliver cargo, combat equipment, and humanitarian relief supplies to anywhere in the world. 

“Their commitment ensures our equipment and personnel are always ready to move on time, every time, worldwide,” she said. “I’m incredibly proud of their relentless efforts in keeping us mission-ready.”

She also met with members of the 9th Airlift Squadron and expressed her gratitude for their hard work.

“It's nice to have the opportunity for Airmen to speak with strategic leaders because ultimately, they make our missions happen,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Phillip Summers, 9th AS commander. “Without the hard work of our team, the big strategic mission sets won't get done. When she has an opportunity to visit, I think it lends a lot to the confidence she has in what we're doing right now.” 

In 2023, the 9th AS participated in numerous operations and exercises, including the Finnish-led Freezing Winds 23 Exercise, Exercise Castaway 23-3, and Mobility Guardian 23. During MG23, 9th AS aircrews operated a 35-hour max endurance operation day, where they moved more cargo and flew more miles than any other U.S. aircraft in the exercise. In October 2023 alone, Dover-based C-5s and C-17s flew more than 266 sorties, moving more than 1,204,000 pounds of cargo across the globe.

Summers credits recent mission success to the “crew dawg” mentality, a recent culture change focused on mission-oriented Airmen who are biased towards action, unafraid of initiative, and their teammates dedicated to making themselves and their teams better every day. 

“Understanding how maintenance thinks is important for us and maintenance understanding how we think and operate is important too,” said Summers. “We had a continuous process improvement event and it's been a critical factor in the jets being more cooperative in the system and operating.”

A closer bond with the aircraft maintainers has also impacted mission success for the 9th AS. With aircrew and maintainers working in tandem, they continue to excel and find new ways to utilize the Air Force’s largest mobility asset.

“I think people are always wondering ‘why is the C-5 flying better right now?’ and ‘why is it more operationally capable?’” said Summers. “A lot of it has to do with the operations and maintenance relationship here at Dover, and that the mindset is no longer ‘we swear it flies,’ the mindset is ‘we make it fly and we're going to make the mission happen.’ That's a big part of this re-establishment of the C-5 as the heavyweight champion of the world.”