Commander sets sights on 19th Air Force future

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Katie Hickerson
  • 12th Flying Training Wing
    The 19th Air Force commander has been at the helm now for a few weeks and has had a chance to form some first impressions and fine-tune his vision for the command. 
    Maj. Gen. Greg Feest, who took command July 30, said the 19th AF team is up to the task of moving the command forward.
    "I am extremely impressed by the professionalism of the men and women in 19th Air Force, Air Education and Training Command Headquarters, our host wing, the 12th Flying Training Wing, and all of the wings in the 19th Air Force," General Feest said.       
    "These men and women wake up in the morning and enjoy accomplishing the mission. My duty is to make sure this attitude continues and to make sure everyone in the command has what he or she needs to work at such high levels."
    The 19th AF includes more than 38,000 people, operates more than 1,700 aircraft and flies nearly 500,000 hours annually. The headquarters is responsible for the execution of Air Force initial qualification and follow-on combat crew flying training programs and conducts annual air crew standardization and evaluation visits.
    In discussing his vision for the command, General Feest said, "I want to continue to perform our mission in an exemplary manner to produce the best aircrews and air battle managers for the combatant commanders."
    General Feest served previously on the Joint Staff in the Pentagon as deputy director for force application in the Directorate of Force Structure, Resources and Assessment, where he was responsible for ensuring warfighters received the equipment they needed to conduct combat operations.
    "My mission here is to make sure we're giving the Airmen the training they need, to not only support today's war, but also wars of the future," the general explained."
    Within 19th AF, 22 active duty, guard and reserve organizations provide specialized and joint undergraduate pilot training, joint undergraduate combat systems officer training, introduction to fighter and bomber fundamental training, air battle management training, and initial and instructor enlisted aircrew member training, to name a few. In all, 19th AF trains more than 25,000 students annually.
    As the Air Force becomes leaner and must complete more tasks with fewer resources, General Feest said he will posture the command to overcome training challenges as they move programs forward.
    "The rated manning issue is a big priority for me," General Feest said. "The requirement is going up every day, so it's my goal to figure out, along with AETC, how we're going to train the aircrews and air battle managers we need today and in the future. With dwindling resources, we will have to be smart."
    Over the next year, General Feest said he will visit each of the bases in 19th AF, and plans to meet with senior leaders, civilians, contractors and Airmen to discuss their issues.
    "All of us are in our Air Force because we believe in what we're doing," he said. "I have been both excited and humbled to have been given the opportunity to take this command. I've seen nothing but professionalism and a can-do attitude from everyone on the team. I can think of no greater privilege than to be your commander."