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Col. John Klein: “We deliver for AMC and our nation every day”

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Col. John Klein, 60th Air Mobility Wing commander, hosted his second series of commanders’ calls in 2017 at Travis Air Force Base, California, August 8 - 10.

During the briefings, which were the first since March, Klein emphasized the strategic importance of Travis, the capabilities the base provides and asked every Airman in attendance to identify how he or she supports the wing’s mission to rapidly project American power anytime…anywhere.

“You need to understand how you connect to our mission,” said Klein. “You are engaged globally and you’re doing that by deliberately developing Airmen, forging pride and creating a team (atmosphere).

“We are a power projection platform for our great nation and we deliver for Air Mobility Command and our nation every day,” he said. “There are no bounds at Travis Air Force Base.”

Chief Master Sgt. Steve Nichols, 60th AMW command chief, shared how Travis Airmen have projected power and supported America’s allies.

“An example of this power was displayed during Exercise Ultimate Reach, which was part of Talisman Saber (a biennial combined Australian and U.S. training activity),” said Nichols. “One of our squadron commanders was the lead for the tanker mission package. We ensured the successful air drop of more than 300 U.S., Australian and Canadian paratroopers into Australia. We also ensured 700,000 pounds of fuel was offloaded supporting coalition aircraft.”

“The message that sends to our allies is we can be wherever we want to be in 24 hours and we can bring whatever we need with us,” said Nichols. “The message to our adversaries is, you better think twice before you mess with us.”

Travis has also played a significant role in Mobility Guardian, AMC’s largest exercise in its history featuring more than 3,000 service members from 25 nations, said Klein.

“This exercise allows us to train with our sister services and 25 international partners,” said Klein. “Ultimately, the exercise is about communicating that we put the reach in global reach. We have one KC-10 and one C-17 crew there and much of the heavy lifting in support of the exercise happened here at Travis.”

“We originally had two C-5s and three C-17s that were scheduled to transport about 240 Airmen from the 60th AMW and 821st Contingency Response Group to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington (where MG is taking place),” said Klein. About the time the base was making that major movement, it got word the C-5 fleet was unavailable due to an issue with the nose landing gear ball screw drive assembly, he added.

However, thanks to the hard work of the Airmen in the 60th Operations Group and 60th Maintenance Group, the cargo and personnel that were originally supposed to fly to JBLM in C-5 aircraft were transferred to C-17 Globemaster IIIs overnight, the colonel said. This ensured the flights left Travis and arrived at JBLM on time.

“We’re also working to replace the nose landing gear ball screw drive assemblies on all of our C-5s and our maintenance Airmen are working this hard,” he said. 

Klein stressed that Travis projects American power in a variety of ways, not only with airpower or rapid global mobility.

Often, the power projected from Travis comes in the form of a promise, he said.

“It could be the promise that our KC-10s will be where and when we say they’re going to be to refuel five C-17s with more than 300 paratroopers in the back on a 6,000 mile journey from one continent to another,” said Klein. “That promise is pretty important. It could also be a long-term promise like providing care for our veterans and their families. Not everybody can do that. David Grant USAF Medical Center does it every day.”

During the event, Klein and Nichols also discussed international threats, shared insight on professional military education changes and details of the base’s response to a false report of an active shooter in July.