McConnell AFB Airmen show base initiatives to CMSAF

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Felicia Przydzial
  • 22nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

Airmen from the 22nd and 931st Air Refueling Wings demonstrated how they foster more resilient members while staying at the forefront of the Air Force’s refueling enterprise during Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass’ visit November 28-29, 2023.

Team McConnell has achieved many accomplishments over the past few years. The implementation of several new programs allowed the team to continue contributing to the McConnell and Air Force missions. Different agencies from around the base discussed some of these programs and how they help members connect with others within their career field and across the base.

“I have a really strong foundation on [suicide] prevention, but as I’ve been here, I’ve noticed that relationships are just the cusp of starting that,” said Annie Carroll, 22nd and 722nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron True North clinical social worker.

True North was one of many programs McConnell recently implemented to help members that Bass heard about during her visit. The installation has also teamed up with Derby School District to open the first All Pro Dads chapter affiliated with a military base, allowing dads to spend more time with their kids and provide them and others with positive role models.

During September, the Integrated Resiliency team hosted a connection challenge designed to create more connections around base. The Chapel team talked about their peer-to-peer classes that encourage Airmen to connect more with their peers. McConnell has also begun implementing the True North program, which integrates clinical social workers into individual squadrons to provide more accessibility to mental health resources.

Bass also learned of the 22nd Medical Group Human Performance Flight’s accomplishments in creating the Air Force’s first cohort program. The 10-week cohort program is designed to help Airmen implement healthier lifestyle choices with physical fitness, nutrition classes and mental health practices.

“Mindfulness is something that people have to do over time and perfect,” said Christine Murray, 22nd Force Support Squadron integrated resilience team member.

Bass also visited the maintenance complex to hear from the teams that keep the KC-46 operational and some of the challenges of working with a new aircraft, including sourcing parts and materials. During her tour of the aircraft, Airmen from the 344th Air Refueling Squadron discussed the timeline that got the aircraft where it is today. McConnell received the Air Force’s first two KC-46s in 2019 and highlighted to Bass the major milestones accomplished by Team McConnell, such as the first operational long-endurance flight, the first use of night vision goggles and exercise LETHAL PRIDE.

In 2022, McConnell also demonstrated its capability of operating the new airframe from austere environments with a series of Employment Concept Exercises that integrated aircrews, as well as maintenance and information warfare Airmen to achieve whole-domain effects. Bass heard from some of these Airmen, including the intel and cyber teams that support the KC-46 and its systems as it faces potential future conflicts.

“When I came into the Air Force over 30 years ago, you really had to be strong in three warfighting domains: air, land and sea,” Bass said. “You had to have a strong army, you had to have a strong air force and you had to have a strong navy. Fast forward to today – not only do we have to be good in air, land and sea, but we better figure out really quickly how to be good in air, land, sea, space, cyber and information. Our adversaries and pacing challenges are modernizing fast. We need empowered Airmen at all levels to understand the threat and work together to build the Force of the Future our nation needs.”