Outgoing 19th AF commander pays final visit to ‘Mighty 97th’

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Craig D. Wills, 19th Air Force commander, visited Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, for the last time June 23, 2022, before retiring after 31 years of service.

During his visit, Wills discussed future improvements, saw student training first-hand, toured new facilities, learned about maintenance innovations and provided words of wisdom.

"Maj. Gen. Wills has been a strong advocate for the Airmen and mission of the ‘Mighty 97th,’ and this visit is highly valuable to gain his perspective on the team's innovation efforts at Mobility's Hometown,” said Col. Blaine Baker, 97th Air Mobility Wing commander. “We were very excited to showcase all the improvements we've made to our premier installation and to have him interact with our exceptional students and Mobility Warriors."

One of the main focuses of Wills’ visit was to discuss the Adaptive Training Initiative, a new strategy designed to prepare aircrew members for the future fight against near peer competitors. 97th AMW Airmen practiced this concept by training at various locations in exercises such as Task Force Agile Jester and Red Mammoth.

“We knew the project was important, as we looked at our current training program and saw some gap areas,” said Lt. Col. Adam Glover, 97th Operations Support Squadron commander. “However, the visit by Maj. Gen. Wills validated the efforts of our team to redefine training at the formal training unit. As a champion of innovation and revitalized training, the support from Maj. Gen. Wills on this project demonstrates that we are on the right track to elevate our current training.”

At the end of his visit, every 97th AMW group commander thanked, coined and bid farewell to Wills, who will retire in August.

“There is magic here in Mobility’s Hometown,” said Wills. “We are privileged to be leaders and have these positions. We get one shot at it and, if you are lucky, they will knock on your door to give you another one. I am really proud to see (97th AMW Airmen) making the most of it and doing the things that matter most. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”