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Welcome 2019: a look at what’s ahead for Team Scott

COLONEL LESLIE A. MAHER

Col. Leslie A. Maher is the Commander, 375th Air Mobility Wing, Scott Air Force Base, Ill. She leads more than 3,100 personnel, oversees assets totaling more than $4 billion, and controls an annual budget exceeding $130 million. The 375th AMW mission is to provide aeromedical evacuation for patients, and operational support airlift for high priority passengers and cargo, and installation support to 31 mission partners including United States Transportation Command, Air Mobility Command, and the Eighteenth Air Force, totaling almost 13,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, Department of Defense civilians, and contract personnel making Scott a Total Force installation. The wing operates 12 C-21 aircraft, and is an Associate Partner for C-40 airlift missions with the Reserve’s 932d Airlift Wing, and KC-135 refueling missions with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 126th Air Refueling Wing.

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --

After 11 months in this awesome challenge of commanding the 375th Air Mobility Wing, I am so impressed with what we’ve accomplished so far. 2018 was an amazing year—full of challenges, community involvement and seeing concrete improvements to our streets and facilities. 

2019 will be no different! My team and our mission partners are collaborating now to improve the installation, our personnel’s training and readiness, and further engage with our community.  As with any great plan, there may be changes, but the following is an overview of what we hope to accomplish in the New Year.

A NEW DINING FACILITY:  In late spring, we plan to open a newly renovated Dining Facility.  Equipped with the latest cooking technology, a better layout and Wi-Fi, this new facility will not only promote healthy, energizing food options, but will also allow anyone who works and plays at Scott to dine there.  

In addition, this will open up the concept of “campus dining” for our meal-card holders—enabling them to eat at any 375th Force Support Squadron food campus, not just the Dining Facility.  I have been watching this transformation as it unfolds, and it will be worth the wait! 

INSTALLATION UPGRADES: It’s awesome having a 102-year old base, but what comes with it is 102-year-old problems.  We are getting after it!  Scott’s teammates will see my civil engineer professionals and local contractors renovating roads, providing for better drainage around the base and installing new sewer drains.  We will continue to clean up a few lingering environmental issues, and our community will be making history by pouring sidewalks to the aircraft at the Scott Field Air Park. 

RENOVATE AIR MOBILITY COMMAND HEADQUARTERS:  The road to a “renovated AMC HQ” building will continue.  We will be completing and making progress on key projects such as heating/air conditioning and fire suppression updates to Bldg. P-40 and providing for a new temporary home for the 618th Air Operations Center.   This will enable us to completely empty Bldg. 1600 so we can “take it down to the studs.”  For my civilian readers, yes, it is really happening! 

MARCH’S INNOVATION FOCUS:  Airmen and our Joint Partners!  We are growing our game!  March will roll out like a lion with innovation.  We will celebrate innovation all month with key events that will cap off with the ribbon-cutting of a newly retrofitted C-21.  The 458th Airlift Squadron “Cougars” will be celebrating their ingenuity in cooperating with our industry partners to bring about the biggest change to the Learjet in 35 years.  A new “glass cockpit” will ready this executive airlift platform for the global airspace operating requirements for years to come.  

During March we plan to hold a STEAM Day and Spark Tank competition, which will allow us to use the Air Force’s innovation funding to increase lethality and readiness in our missions.  We also plan to sign a landmark agreement with our community partners to operationalize our storm water mitigation efforts.  These efforts will engage our region in reducing the risks of flooding to Scott Air Force Base during our heavy rainfall periods.  Also, we are planning an “Energy Day,” engaging our community partners to assist us in laying in resiliency in our electrical systems throughout the installation.  

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:  Throughout the year, we will be adding to our professional development menu of courses.  Most notably, we are fortifying our civilian professional development opportunities with seminars and courseware.  Rockwell Hall continues to host our best and brightest, enhancing their communication and leadership skills, and we look to improve upon this success.  The weekly bulletin email is a great source for courses which also links to the calendar on the EIM website. 

FAMILY SUPPORT INITIATIVES: For our families, we continue to work with our local legislators to seek ways to improve employment conditions for our spouses, to increase our voice when it comes to school and credit-transfer issues and robust the efforts to provide effective transitions for our departing members.  

In March, Scott will host a meeting between the commanders of Rock Island Army Arsenal, the Great Lakes Naval Training Center along with participation from the Commander, U.S. Coast Guard Upper Mississippi Region. We’ve been meeting regularly to use our collective voices to bolster efforts within the state of Illinois to improve all things related to installation resiliency and military family enhancement programs.  Our December meeting at Rock Island truly set the tone for 2019 to be a productive year on these issues. 

C-21 CONSOLIDATION:  It will be bittersweet, but we will be standing down our 457th AS (C-21 operations unit located at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland).  It’s bittersweet because we will be losing a squadron flag, but also gaining 14 of those phenomenal operators here within Scott’s 458 AS.  The “Caribou” have successfully fulfilled some of our nation’s important missions, and we will celebrate their history with their arrival in late summer. 

MOBILITY GUARDIAN:  In September, we are planning to play an important part in AMC’s premier exercise, Mobility Guardian.  There we expect to showcase our Airmen’s talents and innovation to not only our AMC brethren, but to our international partners as well.  Our aeromedical evacuation mission will be truly tested and showcased as part of this unique demonstration of AMC might. 

EXECUTING THE MISSION! Throughout the year, you will see my Airmen wherever you look!  The Honor Guard will continue to execute our most treasured traditions throughout the seven-state area.  The FSS team will continue to set the stage for all our Airmen to be successful through human resource, morale and welfare activities, family, physical fitness and you-name-it Airmen-focused programs.  

Our logistics experts will continue to operate key cargo, transportation, and fuel support programs to enable our nation’s most important missions.  As mentioned above, civil engineers will fortify and robust our facilities, prevent and fight our fires, deploy throughout the globe to perform key explosive ordnance functions and rebuild that which was torn down or destroyed such as critical assistance they provided helping to recover Tyndall AFB, Florida, after Hurricane Michael.   

Our communications experts will keep us operating, forging ahead with new and exciting capabilities that will strive to eliminate interruption in service and guard us against those who endeavor to get inside our systems.  

Our contracting and financial experts will exploit every penny of the budget we receive, ensuring each expenditure adds to our readiness, lethality and quality of life.  Our operations support teams will ensure 100 percent access to Scott AFB through the air to those who rely on us to get their mission completed.  Our executive airlift specialists—premier pilots, flight attendants, and support personnel—will continue to showcase perfect comfortable, reliable, available, safe and connected services to our nation’s decision-makers.  

Our air refuelers will continue to deploy their critical force-extending capability both within our borders and globally.  Our “Check Flight” will continue to partner with the FAA to ensure each and every location our nation’s aircraft transits around the world has accurate and precision landing systems to ensure safety of flight for all our aviators.    

Our medical professionals will inform us of the many changes that will come with our transition to the Defense Health Agency, while maintaining crucial life-saving skills capabilities for our combat Airmen and their families, both in the battlefield and at home.  

Our services within the wing will continue to serve the needs of Airmen and their families during times of great celebration and through times that require one-on-one assistance of a dedicated wingman to ensure they can continue their mission.  

And finally, our Defenders will stand and protect us from those who wish to cause us harm.  All will continue to work together in a unified direction, each dedicated to building a stronger Scott Air Force Base, a stronger United States Air Force and stronger United States of America.