AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy --
U.S. Air Force Gen. Jeff Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brion Blais, USAFE-AFAFRICA command chief, visited Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 24-25, and familiarized themselves with the 31st Fighter Wing’s current mission and operations.
“I saw an ability of the team [here] to come together as Airmen and understand the mission, and deliver it in a fashion that demonstrates nothing but excellence,” Harrigian said. “I had an opportunity to fly with [the 56th RQS], as well as interface with some of the maintainers on the F-16 Fighting Falcon side of the house, and was really impressed with the Airmen and their understanding of the mission.”
Harrigian and Blais immersed themselves with a few of the squadrons from the 31st FW, meeting with Airmen and getting a closer look at the diverse mission set and the importance of Aviano’s location and priorities.
“I’ve been impressed by the wing’s ability to still deliver the mission, and in some cases delivering 120 percent of the mission, while powering through this difficult time,” Harrigan said. “At the end of the day, I have great confidence in the team here that they will continue to execute the mission.”
While here, he and Blais also focused on USAFE-AFAFRICA’s Agile Combat Employment concept, and learned how Aviano has incorporated this concept into its everyday operations.
ACE focuses on developing Airmen to adapt to situations outside of their normal day-to-day duties by becoming multi-capable Airmen while improving mission readiness and increasing capabilities in less than optimal environments.
“What I saw over the last day and a half is the innovative thinking that is ongoing here at Aviano,” Harrigian said. “Applying the ACE concept to the wing here and then down into the squadron gave us the feedback we needed and gave me great insight into how they’re tackling this challenge and coming up with solutions.”
Every Airman is essential to mission success, whether that means maintaining installation force protection or executing base deployment operations. Wyverns are executing these capabilities every day while sustaining the capability to deploy personnel and cargo in support of the 31st FW mission to deter through safe, secure and effective operations.
“I want to tell everyone thank you,” Harrigan said. “The team here has demonstrated resiliency to a level that I think not many fully understand. I fully recognize the challenges you’ve all faced, and the ability to take care of each other and still find ways to connect is really the essence of what’s going on here at Aviano. I’m impressed with the ability to still deliver the mission.”