Senior defense officials visit Holloman, learn about 49th Wing mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Isaiah Pedrazzini
  • 49th Wing public Affairs

Gilbert R. Cisneros Jr., Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, and Alex Wagner, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, visited Holloman to learn about the critical contributions to national defense made at the base and what the day-to-day life is like for Team Holloman, Aug. 1.

The two senior defense officials’ top priority is to improve the quality of life for all service members, civilians, and family members living on military installations. During their tour, they paid a visit to several organizations on base to better understand how they can help shape beneficial policy.

“One of the best ways to figure out if all the policies we're thinking of in the Pentagon are working the way we intend them to is to get out of the building and talk to Airmen,” said Wagner. “If I see that there are challenges, maybe I can cut through some of the bureaucracy and the red tape and bring that information back to D.C. and fix it.”

Cisneros and Wagner also met with several key community partners from Otero County in order to understand the dynamic between Holloman and the local communities and how to support their collaborative efforts.

“The community leaders are really dedicated to Holloman,” said Cisneros. “They're committed to working with the base to take care of the service members and that goes from everything to providing transportation to really seeing how they can make an impact on housing out there in the community that will take care of the families that are here.”

After meeting and speaking with a multitude of Fightin’ 49ers, Cisneros and Wagner understand that every base is going to have certain challenges, whether it be location or base amenities, and have made it their primary goal to assist on these matters.

“Holloman is similar to other bases that I’ve visited, not only around the country but around the world, where childcare, healthcare and housing are an issue and these are things that the department is continuously working on to see how we can better take care of our service members,” said Cisneros. “Secretary [of Defense Lloyd] Austin has stated that taking care of our people is one of his top three priorities and has put a focus on working on these issues to make life better for service members.”

One of the 49th Wing’s top priorities is to lead and develop Airmen, and direct support from senior DOD and DAF leadership is critical to the success of the mission to build combat aircrew.

“Our team here at Holloman makes incredible strides on a daily basis and I’m glad that we had the opportunity to show some of our senior leaders what they’re capable of,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Justin Spears, 49th Wing commander. “This location does present some challenges that we’re continually working to solve, and knowing that we’re on the same page as our policymakers in D.C. gives me confidence that we’re making the right progress.”

Even while facing challenges and obstacles, the capabilities and resilience of Team Holloman stood out enough to make an impact on the two senior defense officials.

“This is a world-class facility, and it's inspiring to hear the personal stories from these Airmen and see their commitment to the mission,” said Wagner. “It's clear the leadership team is doing everything possible to make an amazing social structure here and it just means that it's critical to getting the Airmen the support they need, and also ensuring a long-term commitment and investment by the Air Force in the Alamogordo area.”