JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. -- The commander of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Jacqueline Van Ovost, recently visited the 459th Air Refueling Wing here as part of her visit to Joint Base Andrews.
During the visit, the AMC commander met with the 459th Air Refueling Wing commander Col. Greg Buchanan, vice commander Col. Janet Thode, Chief Master Sgt. Israel Nunez, wing command chief, and the 459th ARW top staff to provide her with an overview of the wing’s mission as well as discuss the wing’s priorities and how they tie to AMC.
“Gen Van Ovost also shared her thoughts on a broad range of topics spanning from our role in strategic deterrence operations, the future of tanker operations and concepts of advanced aerial refueling in addition to how leaders can inspire their teams with deliberate mentoring and development for all Airmen,” said Col. Thode.
Additionally, the 459th ARW’s operational missions of aerial refueling and aeromedical evacuation are important parts of AMC’s big picture.
Per Van Ovost’s command priorities released in October, “prioritizing force development and capability advancement enables AMC to deliver credible capacity to accomplish its primary missions of projecting the Joint Force through airlift, air refueling, aeromedical evacuation and global mobility support while ensuring strategic deterrence to underwrite America’s military and diplomatic instruments of power.”
The 459th ARW plays an significant role in supporting those priorities. However, the visit wasn’t all mission talk. There was also a moment to acknowledge one of the wing’s superstars. Staff Sgt. Santosh Devkota, 69th Aerial Port Squadron passenger services supervisor, was recognized by Gen. Van Ovost for using his insight, experience, and talent to develop code to speed manual passenger processing at passenger terminals down from 15 minutes per passenger to 5 minutes or less. His idea landed him in the finals of AMC’s Phoenix Spark competition last year.
“Staff Sgt. Devkota's innovation epitomized General Van Ovost's focus on developing digitally-adept Airmen,” said Chief Master Sgt. Israel Nunez, 459th Air Refueling Wing command chief. “Additionally, it also met another one of her focuses on capitalizing on innovative thinking to enable the warfighter and command to operate faster, smarter, and to make better-informed decisions.”
“We had a fantastic visit with Gen. Van Ovost and Chief Master Sgt. Brian Kruzelnick (AMC command chief),” said Col. Thode. “Furthermore, her insights from a senior leader perspective about accelerating change to ensure a competitive edge was enlightening.”