19th AF command team visits Holloman

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Corinna Diaz
  • 49th Wing Public Affairs
Team Holloman welcomed U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Clark Quinn, 19th Air Force commander, and U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Justin Apticar, 19th Air Force command chief, for a tour of the installation Aug. 23-25, 2023. 
This marks Quinn’s first visit to Holloman since taking command in June, allowing the senior command team to meet with Airmen throughout the 49th Wing to see first-hand the day-to-day operations that enable the building of combat-ready F-16 Viper and MQ-9 Reaper aircrew.
“The engagement, knowledge and connection that the Airmen have really impresses me, because Airmen need to understand why they do what they do and how it contributes to our future and national security,” said Apticar.
Fightin’ 49ers showcased how they play an essential role in training the next generation of fighter pilots, generating nearly 10,000 F-16 sorties last year alone. The 19th Air Force command team got the chance to witness the importance of these training missions first-hand, accompanying instructor pilots from the 314th Fighter Squadron in an F-16 flight.
“Regardless of where you are in the training pipeline, we are ultimately producing combat air power and combat aircrew for our nation and our partners,” said Quinn. “Each and every one of the Airmen here is connected to that mission.”
The command team also spent time in MQ-9 training facilities, which the majority of the Air Force’s Reaper aircrew pipelined through for initial training. They met with remotely piloted aircraft instructors and students to learn about how these combat aircrews train for modern operations in the U.S. Air Force’s global combat mission. 
“At the end of the day, our job is to build combat aircrew for the Viper and Reaper,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Justin Spears, 49th Wing commander. “I couldn’t be more proud to showcase these incredible Airmen to our senior leaders and let them demonstrate their skill and expertise firsthand.”
At the end of the visit, Quinn shared his vision of how the 49th Wing fits into the 19th Air Force’s mission during an all call, highlighting Holloman’s significance as a premiere training base for the Airmen who will be vital in tomorrow’s fight.
“At the Airmen level, you may not be thinking about how your work impacts the long-term combat power of our Air Force, but every person here matters,” said Quinn. “The formal training units that produce MQ-9 aircrew and F-16 pilots will all go into front line units and be ready for any challenge.”