Air Force Featured Stories

Aviano AB highlights adaptable, rapidly executable posture during senior leader visit

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever
  • 31st Fighter Wing

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara M. Barrett, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., and Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass engaged with Airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing during their visit to Aviano Air Base, Dec. 23. 

The visit began with breakfast with Airmen at the La Dolce Vita Dining Facility, where senior leaders spoke directly with Airmen to learn about Aviano AB’s contributions to the Air Force mission.

“Meeting the senior leaders of the force was extremely rewarding,” said Staff Sgt. Alban Rivas, 31st Maintenance Group weapon systems coordinator. “After speaking to our (Air Force senior leaders) I was able to learn key factors of their vision and (how) they want to take the (U.S. Air Force) to a more technologically sound, and people-first culture within their term.”

The next stop was the Comprehensive Operational Medicine for Battle Ready Airmen, or COBRA, Clinic, where Airmen receive rapid evaluation sensitive to the operations of their unit and their unique requirements in an evidence-based way.

At the clinic, the senior leaders were shown how the 31st FW is accelerating into the future with new innovative ideas, like the creation of a hub-and-spoke model of care incorporating diagnosis, recovery, rehabilitation and performance optimization into a single unified mission.

“Seeing the COBRA clinic in person and learning how this team cuts through bureaucratic processes to drive innovation was truly awesome,” Brown said. “The clinicians recognized a need for change, and accelerated the pathway of care to keep our Airmen ready.”

Throughout the visit, Airmen briefed leadership on areas of expertise, focusing on how Airmen are thinking of creative ways to improve their community’s quality of life.

“I was impressed with the 31st Maintenance Group’s Airman 4 Life program and the initiatives to develop and care for not just our young Airmen, but all Airmen,” Bass said. “This type of mindset, focused on protecting time to develop our Airmen’s resiliency skills both in and out of uniform, will truly change the culture of the Air Force for the better.”

The 31st FW Airmen are remaining informed and empowered to problem-solve, come up with unique solutions and make smart recommendations and decisions.

“Visits like these allow us to showcase our Airmen’s accomplishments to our senior leaders,” said Capt. Kimberly Smith, 31st Medical Support Squadron resources management and administration flight commander. “This visit brings a unique opportunity to highlight the remarkable work they do every day.”

Throughout the visit, they took time to recognize some of 31st FW’s exceptional performers. They spoke with Airmen to learn more about who they are and their accomplishments.

“Aviano (AB) Airmen define the leading edge of the Air Force’s preparations for future operations,” Barrett said. “‘Wyvern Nation’ challenges the status quo by finding new ways to take care of people while executing agile combat employment.”

The stopover was also a return to a place that was once home for one of the visitors.

“Though this visit was short and limited for safety measures, I was able to connect with Airmen and reflect on how much my family and I love the Italian culture and cherish the friends we made while at Aviano,” Brown said. “It’s wonderful to see the partnership between the base and Italian community that I enjoyed here as a wing commander is still as strong as ever.”

All COVID-19 safety measures were implemented during this visit, which lasted less than 24 hours.