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AETC command team visits 33rd Fighter Wing Nomads

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Jymil Licorish
  • 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, and his wife, Maureen Robinson, and Chief Master Sgt. Chad Bickley, AETC command chief, and his wife Nicki, visited the Nomads of the 33rd Fighter Wing, Aug. 29, 2023.

The command team met with 33rd FW leaders and various service members to discuss the importance of their mission and how it ties into Air Force and higher headquarters priorities.

"In order to ensure the skies remain our domain, you need to forge combat-ready Airmen,” said Robinson. The world’s greatest air force counts on Airmen who can soar with courage and serve with excellence—through dedication, training, and unwavering commitment. Never forget the importance of your role as capable, high-end warfighters.”

The 33rd Operations Group’s mission becomes more and more important as it is only one of two locations whose mission is to produce combat pilots to fly the F-35A Lightning II. Similarly, the group is the only unit who produces air battle managers, and Air Force Special Operations Command and F-35 intelligence professionals. Across the spectrum, the 33rd OG tailors its training to meet emerging, near-peer threats head-on in support of the National Defense Strategy.

Although the 33rd Operations Group’s training programs prove to be critical to our national defense, the rest of the Nomads provided context to the AETC command team about how it takes the entire wing to shape combat-credible airmen of the future.

“Our strength lies in our identity as Nomads, a tight-knit family of Airmen getting ready to lead in competition and combat,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Dave Skalicky, 33rd Fighter Wing commander.  “I’m proud to be able to show this team’s ability to train the world’s finest pilots, air battle managers, maintainers, and intelligence professional to our senior leaders.  It’s a mission we do with excellence every day.”

During her time with the 33rd FW, Mrs. Robinson toured quality-of-life facilities, such as the base’s new USO Gaming Center and medical hub Intrepid Spirit Center, along with the base’s housing areas. She also met with key spouses from across the wing to discuss the well-being and concerns of military families both on- and off-base. Mrs. Robinson learned about the progress of educational facilities and how they serve the needs of Nomad families.

“Advocating for our families and nurturing our base community is more than a duty,” said Mrs. Robinson. “It is a commitment that strengthens our bonds and fuels our shared success.”

The Nomads also demonstrated to the Robinsons their innovative solutions for daily challenges such as the comprehensive readiness for aircrew flying training, CRAFT, and optimizing the human weapon system, OHWS. These programs were created in 2019 after an Air Force task fighter force determined that neck and back pain were leading to decreased ability to retain fighter pilots and weapon systems officers.

The AETC command team also toured the fuels hangar where they learned about the successes and obstacles regarding Eglin’s first 720-day Corrosion Inspection and the On-Board Insert Gas Generating System modifications.

The general also interacted with Airmen as he conveyed his vision during an all call. He emphasized the significance the 33rd Fighter Wing’s role within the broader AETC mission set and how both missions strengthen the Air Force and Department of Defense. Additionally, he took the opportunity to recognize several exceptional Nomads, thanking them for their contributions to the success of the wing.

"The 33rd FW Nomads lead the path in agile combat employment,” said Robinson. “Your team molds capable, empowered Airmen with versatile skills, equipped to excel every day. It is this ability to steer ambiguity and adversity with decisive judgment that allows us to win."

In addition to visiting the 33rd FW at Eglin, the AETC command team also met with local recruiters assigned to the 331st Recruiting Squadron of Charlie Flight, in Mary Esther, Florida. Recruiters discussed a variety of topics to include: their area of responsibility, recruiting challenges, quality of life, and their experiences in the field.