11th Air Force commander visits Hickam Airmen

(Via Ho’okele News)

Lt. Gen. Russell Handy, 11th Air Force commander, toured 15th Wing units and spoke with Airmen during a Dec. 12 visit to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Handy, visiting from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, hosted an all-call with Airmen to thank them for their hard work, and to talk about some of the challenges in the Air Force and the Pacific.

“Thanks for what you do,” Handy said. “You probably hear that a lot, but from the bottom of my heart I sincerely want to thank you. This is the most challenging time in my career to serve in the Air Force. We’ve never had the task load we have now with the kind of resource challenges that we are issuing to you all, but you do a phenomenal job with every challenge that comes your way.”

Handy explained the role of the 11th Air Force and the importance of total force integration here and throughout the Pacific.

“In addition to being your administrative commander … I feel like part of my job is to make sure we all work together to share positive and negative lessons to get the job done because there are a lot of challenges on our plate,” Handy said.

Other topics included the U.S. rebalance to the Pacific, force shaping, the future of the F-22 Raptor program and joint basing issues and successes.

Handy also had the pleasure of coining two outstanding performers and announcing the below-the-zone promotion of four surprised Airmen, and helped “tack” on their new stripes.

Throughout the day Handy joined 15th Wing leadership on a tour of Hickam that included a TFI brief with group commanders, a decontamination team demonstration at the 15th Medical Group, an inside look at the historic Hickam Water Tower, cooking and lunch with the 65th Airlift Squadron and wing squadron commanders, and a stop at the 15th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron.

During his time here, Handy flew an F-22 mission with the 19th and 199th Fighter Squadrons.

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