18th Air Force leadership visits Travis AFB

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jonathon Carnell
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. – Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb, 18th Air Force commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief, visited Travis Air Force Base, California, Feb. 3-5, to gain an understanding of Travis AFB’s abilities as the gateway to the Pacific. 

The 18th AF ensures the readiness and sustainment of 36,000 active duty, Air Force Reserve and civilian Airmen at 12 wings and one stand-alone group. 

“You have to be ready mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally,” Maj. Gen. Bibb said. “Not one of the 36,000 of us know what call we could receive tomorrow, but we can remain trained for any possible action that needs our response. Team Travis has responded to these calls of action whenever, wherever at a moment’s notice.” 

With approximately 400 aircraft, 18th AF supports AMC’s worldwide mission of providing rapid global mobility to America’s armed forces through airlift, aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation.

Maj. Gen. Bibb said that Travis AFB’s fleet of aircraft are a vital component to AMC’s rapid global mobility mission, but it is the Airmen who make the mission possible. 

Chief Bickley, 18th AF command chief expanded on Maj. Gen. Bibb’s topic. 

“These are unique times to be in the force,” Chief Bickley said. “We are asking a lot of our Airmen and we know that, but no one is more capable than you.”

During the visit, Maj. Gen. Bibb and Chief Bickley spent time with various agencies across all three wings assigned to Travis AFB while their spouses, Mrs. Shannon Bibb and Mrs. Nicki Bickley met with installation representatives who provided a bird’s eye view of the services their agencies offer Airmen and their families.

Maj. Gen. Bibb and Chief Bickley toured a number of units across the installation including the 60th Security Forces Squadron, the 22nd Airlift Squadron and David Grant USAF Medical Center. 

On the first day of their visit, the 22nd Airlift Squadron briefed the leadership team on the unit’s professional development program.

“Growing people to be the best Airmen, aviators, leaders, and people they can be is what we strive to do,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Trumble, 22nd AS commander. “Defying convention and driving culture to establish continued personal and professional development for all 22nd Airlift members, drawing from a wide-range of disciplines and exploiting blended media and means of communication.”

Maj. Gen. Bibb stressed that Airmen face various challenges to complete the mission during COVID-19, but there’s no one more capable than those who have stepped up to serve their nation.  

During the visit, Maj. Gen. Bibb and Chief Bickley spent time at Travis AFB’s Phoenix Spark lab — the base’s innovation hub, which works to find ways to decrease expenditures on the installation. 

“We don’t have a choice but to try new things,” said Maj. Gen. Bibb. “Set the bar to a new height, maybe we fail, but we fail forward. If we don’t have enough failure in our squadrons, we aren’t thinking out of the box enough — it’s okay to have failures.”

As a conclusion to the 3-day tour, Maj. Gen. Bibb served as the guest speaker during the Travis AFB State of the Base event. There he highlighted the critical role the community members have in ensuring mission success. 

“Our Air Force cannot accomplish its mission without our local communities,” said Maj. Gen. Bibb. “Our civic leaders make it possible ... Thank you.”

Since obtaining their leadership positions, Maj. Gen. Bibb and Chief Bickley have focused on ensuring Airmen have the resources needed for any personal or professional needs. 

Maj. Gen Bibb elaborated on the pair’s vision for the 18th AF during his tenure.

“We want to make sure every Airman and every Airman’s family is well taken care of,” said Maj. Gen. Bibb. “Chief and I want you to know we are thankful for your service and acknowledge the hard work you are doing every day and night to continue Travis’ (AFB) mission to rapid global mobility. Thank you Team Travis.”