AFSOC commander: we trust you

  • Published
  • By Jenny Gordon
  • Robins Public Affairs
Special ops can be an essential component of all successful military operations. But, in order for combatant commanders across the globe to realize control of the battlefield, they must have the equipment required to get the job done.

That's where Robins Air Force Base comes in.

Due to the work of the C-130 Air Force Special Operations Command Acceleration Flight, the "quiet professionals" of AFSOC can rest assured that an AC-130 gunship will be at their disposal whenever and wherever the mission calls.

During a tour of 560th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintenance operations Tuesday, Lt. Gen. Bradley Heithold, AFSOC commander, described how his command's inventory didn't include many of the aircraft that maintainers here are working accelerated programmed depot maintenance on.

"This is not by accident that we have come here to show our appreciation to all of you," said Heithold, a master navigator with more than 3,400 flight hours, including time on the AC-130H/U models. "We don't have a lot of these airplanes - every one of them matters."

The last few months have been a flurry of maintenance activity across the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex in anticipation of a high-demand workload that, when accomplished, will be a shining testament of teamwork, dedication and good old-fashioned sweat and grit.

A total of six AFSOC planes are scheduled for accelerated PDM here in fiscal 2016. The first AC-130U gunship was delivered in February to AFSOC at Hurlburt Field, Fla. The first of three MC-130H Combat Talons is here, which recently received an outer wing replacement.

Heithold touched on the upcoming C-130J Super Hercules workload at Lockheed Martin's facilities in Marietta, Ga., to which he added, "Guess where we're going to put them when they need work? They're coming right here because you have a proven track record - we trust you."

This was the general's second visit to Robins in the last seven months, and speaks to the significance of how critical accelerated PDM is to the current AFSOC fleet in assisting in the fight to defeat violent extremist organizations who seek to destroy our way of life.

"We aren't going to let them change the way we live. It's not going to happen," he said.
Hanging in a conference room on a banner are words he uttered during his last visit to Robins: "My customer is the enemy, my product is violence." 

"So we deliver our product which is violence," he continued. "There's nothing pretty about this, it's ugly business, but we'll keep doing it."

Teamwork he described was phenomenal between the Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex and AFSOC partners from the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla., and 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M.

These units are responsible for global special operations taskings, conducting infiltration and exfiltration, combat support and other special missions with aircraft that include AC-130U gunships and MC-130H  Combat Talons.

"None of us lead normal lives. We're extraordinary people doing extraordinary things. Embrace it - because the sooner you embrace that, the better off you'll be," he said.

Heithold's was another high-profile visit by AFSOC in the last several months. Maj. Gen. Eugene Haase, AFSOC vice commander, visited Robins in February with a crew onboard a combat-ready AC-130U "Spooky" gunship to express gratitude to Team Robins for their efforts.

Next week, command chiefs from across AFSOC, to include Chief Master Sgt. Matthew Caruso,   AFSOC Command Chief, will also tour the C-130 accelerated line.

Jake Dickson, C-130 AFSOC Acceleration flight chief at Robins, and several maintenance professionals from across the base were able to join Heithold during a lunch earlier in the day.

"His message really hit home for us," he said. "He shared how much of an impact these AFSOC birds have, that the Combat Talon is a very valuable aircraft. That really hit home for us, and was a nice reminder that what we're doing is significant."

"It really proves how much this work means not only to Robins, and the men and women of AFSOC, but to all of our armed forces," he said.