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AMC Commander chooses Pittsburgh as a first stop

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Don Accamando
  • 171st Public Affairs
     It didn't take long for the new Air Mobility Commander, General Raymond Johns to share his philosophy with the members of the Wing when he visited the base 30 November.
     Brig. Gen. Roy Uptegraff, 171st Commander hosted a "Social" event for General Johns and his staff the evening he arrived in Pittsburgh.  Air Mobility Command's (AMC) highest ranking officer graciously stated his intentions upon his arrival.  "We just took over last week and there's lots of things I've got to re-learn," said General Johns.  "The best way to do that is to get out among the folks who are doing the mission."
     General Johns dined on a variety of hors d' oeuvres with approximately 150 guests in the Aerospace Dining Facility.  A cross section of guests from the 171st Air Refueling Wing, the 911th Airlift Wing, local elected officials and members of the Honorary Commanders Association greeted the General.
     While speaking to community leaders and a variety of veteran airmen the General said he, "wanted to see the mission through your eyes, to see your commitment to your Air Force."  General Johns continued saying, "every time you deploy there is an expense to your family and an expense to your employer."
     The evening social was the first part of General Johns visit.  He returned the following morning for a personalized mission briefing presented by Brig. Gen. Uptegraff and his group commanders.  In this intimate setting he intently listened to the staff discuss a number of milestone events, including our commitment to AMC, a few of our "bragging rights" and the top issues and challenges facing the wing.
     The General asked a number of questions throughout the 40 minute brief.  He was impressed by the fact that we have survived ten aircraft conversions in our sixty year history saying, "You have managed the culture of your organization graciously to change, my hat is off to you."
     After some private time with Brig. Gen. Uptegraff, General Johns was led on a "windshield tour" of the base that included stops in Maintenance, Security and Operations.  Whether finding the hidden Strategic Air Command (SAC) fist in our nose art, discussing our Phase inspection process or chatting with young and old airmen alike, the General was impressed.  "the family atmosphere that exists here at Pittsburgh is unique in the Air Force", he said.
     As I watched the newest commander of Air Mobility Command climb aboard the 911th Airlift Wing C-130 Hercules that would take him to his next Reserve Component stop in Niagara Falls, New York, I thought to myself what an approachable man the General was, and that we'd be hearing much more from him very soon.