The 86 Airlift Wing: Mission, Vision, Priorities

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. C.K. Hyde
  • 86th Airlift Wing commander
The mission of the 86th Airlift Wing is to provide combat airlift and operate the Air Force's premier installation to enable and assure strategic capabilities. Our mission is simple but critical for our nation, Air Force and supported Combatant Commanders. The combat airlift provided by our C-130 and operational support aircraft is an essential part of the air power for EUCOM and AFRICOM, and provides forward capabilities to meet our nation's Article 5 responsibilities for the defense of NATO.
As the host for Ramstein Air Base, and in conjunction with our partners, we are the cornerstone of America's power projection capability to Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East. We enable and assure strategic capabilities upon which the joint force and war fighting commanders depend, and which generate asymmetric advantages in air, space and cyberspace.

Our wing's mission flows from the Air Force's mission statement -- to fly, fight and win ... in air space and cyberspace. We also directly support USAFE's mission with forward-based air power and infrastructure to conduct and enable theater and global operations.
You, our military and civilian Airmen, are critical to the mission success of our wing, Air Force and Nation.

We will define our future through our vision: Capable, credible, responsive Airmen ... operationally ready, honored to serve! Our mission requires the world's best Airmen. We have great technology and weapon systems, but our strength and asymmetric advantage is our Airmen. We face thinking and adaptive enemies, and our future success depends upon the commitment of each and every Airman to readiness at the individual, unit and installation levels. We must strive for continuous improvement and strengthen our ability to work with others to achieve operational success. The motivation and warrior ethos which sustain us must be anchored in our core values and not succumb to a focus on self and expected reward.

In order to perform our mission and deliver the maximum combat readiness and service required by our vision, we are focused on four overarching priorities: (1) accomplish our mission safely and effectively, (2) develop professional Airmen, warriors and leaders, (3) collaborate with our Allies, Joint and international partners, and (4) provide exceptional quality of life for the entire KMC.

Accomplish our mission safely and effectively. There is a difference between "being safe" versus internalizing Operational Risk Management. One is usually associated with an event; the other permeates everything we do. We must develop the habit of thinking and applying risk management concepts to make good decisions on and off duty, in the air and on the ground. We must speak up when we see anything that doesn't make sense and bring it to the right level for a decision. It's not hard in concept, but it requires commitment, professionalism and leadership for success. We should never forget that in World War II, we lost over 37,000 Airmen in noncombat accidents. We've come a long way, but we can never let up when our Airmen and mission are at stake.

Develop professional Airmen ... warriors and leaders. We must be focused on people, not just to make them "feel good" in the short term, but to build them up and develop the skills to succeed long term. We are all training our replacements. If we really care about developing people, we will challenge them, expand their opportunities and get them out of their comfort zone -- that's when growth occurs. We must continually focus on professional development, including training, education, and health and fitness. It is important that we mentor Airmen and instill the warrior ethos of our Airmen's Creed.

The future of our Air Force depends on how we develop professional Airmen into warriors and leaders.

Collaborate with our allies, joint and international partners. Winning today's fight and prevailing in future conflicts requires collaboration with our allies, the joint force and coalition partners.

The United States has a global strategy with strategic challenges, opportunities and partnerships. In Europe we have longstanding partnerships centered on the NATO alliance, and in Africa we have opportunities to develop new friendships and expand the security upon which free societies depend.

The 86th Airlift Wing trains with our NATO partners to build capabilities and enhance interoperability for the defense of our shared values, and we engage with joint forces in Africa to develop national capabilities, build partnerships based on mutual trust, and improve security and economic opportunity.

Provide exceptional quality of life for the entire KMC. We will continue to strengthen our military and civilian force by honoring our commitment to them and their families. Together with our Army partners we will provide exceptional installations, health care, and family programs; and instill a culture of continuous improvement in all of our support activities. In conjunction with our DODDS and AAFES partners, we will provide quality education in a safe environment and world-class exchange services that deliver a "touch of home."

Our support of the largest American community outside the CONUS is the pillar that supports America's national security and force projection capabilities in the KMC. We must ensue American forces and their families have exceptional support that is worthy of their service in a time of war.

The 86th Airlift Wing is essential to our nation's combat capability and readiness. As we look to the future, I challenge every Airman to understand their role and direct connection to our mission, vision and priorities.