MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla --
The 18th Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. GI Tuck, along with Chief Master Sgt. Todd Petzel, 18th AF command chief, visited MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, Nov. 14-16, 2017, to meet with Airmen, Spouses and families, and show appreciation for their hard work… not only across the globe, but also for the recent hurricanes in Florida and the Caribbean.
The visit is the first of twelve Tuck has accomplished as 18th AF commander.
MacDill AFB was instrumental during the federal response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The base was used as a staging area for aeromedical evacuation flights to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands after Hurricanes Irma and Maria and refueled E-3 Sentry aircraft providing air traffic control over Houston following Hurricane Harvey. The base also supported relief missions following an earthquake in Mexico in September and refueled aircraft over Syria and Iraq in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE.
“The mission here at MacDill is vital to Air Mobility Command’s success,” said Tuck. “Think about this…without MacDill and what the people do on this base, an entire measure of capacity would not be available to support the war fight nor humanitarian operations.”
MacDill reports to 18th AF and provides support to their worldwide operational mission of providing rapid global mobility and sustainment for America's armed forces through air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and airlift.
Tuck said the impact MacDill Airmen have on the mission is felt not only locally, but around the world.
“It’s important to understand that there is a lot more going on when you see a plane in the pattern, folks working behind a desk or medical records being reviewed,” Tuck said. “It all enables combat power. Everyone has a role in how they make this mission happen, and they ought to be made aware and thanked for enabling our rapid global mobility mission.”
During their visit, Tuck and Petzel met with Airmen from many different career fields, holding open discussions on current operations and feedback on processes and procedures. He also took the time to visit the Child Development Centers and thanked the staff for their role in enabling mission success.
“I saw it throughout the installation, MacDill Airmen are continuously looking for process improvements and development opportunities,” said Petzel. “It is vitally important we develop not only ourselves, but one another, so we are better as an Air Force tomorrow than we are today.
The visit concluded with an “all call” where Tuck discussed SecAF and CSAF priorities and how they relate to 18 AF. He also discussed unit deployments, tanker aircraft availability to combatant commands and Service requirements, and Air National Guard mobilization. Finally, he and Petzel answered Airmen’s questions, ultimately thanking them for their service.
“You quietly go about your business and you deliver perfection each and every time,” said Tuck. “You’re flat tired, and I am humbled how you continue to make a difference around the world. My hat’s off to the base, the team, and its leadership. Thanks for all of your hard work.”