AETC commander visits Holloman’s Fightin’ 49ers

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Victor J. Caputo
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs

The Fightin’ 49ers of the 49th Wing hosted Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, here, during an immersion visit Jan. 18-19, 2023.

Robinson and his wife Maureen spent their first command visit to Holloman getting to know the Airmen and Guardians, the unique challenges they face, and how they overcome them to provide the Air Force with premiere, combat-ready F-16 Fighting Falcon pilots, MQ-9 Reaper pilots and sensor operators.

“It’s incredible to witness the number of skilled aviators trained and developed here at Holloman,” Robinson said. “There is no air power without trained combat aircrew and the enabling of global projection of lethal and ready air forces, and the 49th Wing plays a role in ensuring this crucial mission happens.”

A point of pride for the Fightin’ 49ers is the volume of combat airpower the wing generates each year. In 2022, Team Holloman generated nearly 10,000 F-16 sorties and graduated more than 600 MQ-9 aircrew. During his tour of the F-16 and MQ-9 training facilities, Robinson met with instructors and students who shared a glimpse into the demands of training and how they are preparing for their future in the Air Force.

While the roaring engine of an F-16 or the shockingly silent approach of a Reaper may catch immediate attention, the rest of Team Holloman made sure to demonstrate that no sortie is launched without an entire support network.

“The Fightin’ 49ers and every member of Team Holloman work day-in and day-out, year-round, so I’m proud that they got the chance to really display their passion and skill to one of our most senior leaders,” said Col. Justin Spears, 49th Wing commander. “We wouldn’t be able to demonstrate the capabilities of the MQ-9 in exercises like RIMPAC, or secure quality of life investments like the new elementary school, if these Airmen and Guardians weren’t totally committed to the mission and team like they are.”

Mrs. Robinson met with Airmen living in the on-base dorms and toured their facilities in addition to seeing several areas of base housing. She also met with key spouses from across the base to discuss the welfare and concerns of the military families both on- and off-base, learning about recent upgrades and improvements made to education facilities on base and other quality of life areas.

“We know that there are issues, and If I can make a difference hearing these stories, hearing the details, it may help us advocate and better provide for our families,” said Mrs. Robinson. “We recruit Airmen, but retain our families.”

The 49th Medical Group Medics also demonstrated to the Robinsons how they successfully tackled challenges such as the transition to the Defense Health Agency and the continued threat of Covid-19, which ultimately earned them the 2022 AETC Small Medical Clinic of the Year.

Robinson was able to engage directly with Airmen as he shared his vision with Team Holloman during an all call, highlighting the role the 49th Wing plays in the larger AETC mission set and how they strengthen the Air Force and Department of Defense as a whole. Additionally, he took the opportunity to recognize high-performing individuals across the installation, thanking them for their contributions to the success of the wing.

“Team Holloman and the Fightin’ 49ers are constantly tackling challenges head-on and making Holloman a better place to work and live,” said Robinson. “The work Airmen and Guardians of the 49th Wing conduct day-in and day-out helps to develop, educate, train and generate the greatest resource our Air Force has, our Airmen. This is why we continue to stay Airmen-centric and mission-focused and we continue to develop Airmen with competencies to win in high-end competition.”