Commanders give community overall view at State of the Base event

  • Published
  • By Angela Woolen
  • Robins Public Affairs
Robins Air Force Base leadership took to the stage April 8 as part of a Robins State of the Base event.

The Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Robins Regional Military Affairs Committee decided the best way to get the message out about what Robins is doing is through a public forum where community members could ask questions of the top base leaders.

"Today's Air Force is the smallest, oldest and busiest it's ever been," said Col. Chris Hill, Installation commander.

There are 22,259 people who work at Robins whose salaries total $1.3 billion, he said. The number of retirees and dependents who live in Middle Georgia is 40,815.

Most of the talk centered on how the base is improving both in relations with the union but also by reducing pollution and partnering with Georgia schools for science, technology, engineering and math programs. 

Hill discussed the improved relationship between management and union officials, pointing out that in less than 13 months grievances decreased by 80 percent. 

"We now work together to solve problems before they become grievances," said Hill. Additionally, for the first time in more than 30 years, a Local Supplement Agreement to the Master Labor Agreement was signed. 

Introducing his fellow panelists, Hill called the commanders "the magnificent seven."

They included Brig Gen. Merle Hart, Air Force Reserve Command; Brig. Gen. Walter Lindsley, Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex; Col. Henry Cyr, 461st Air Control Wing; Col. Kevin Clotfelter, 116th Air Control Wing; Lt. Col. Philip Eilertson, Marine Aircraft Group 49 Detachment A and Lt. Col. Brian Schmanski, 138th Military Intelligence Company.

Lindsley talked about some of the improvements in his own area which services the C-5, C-130, C-17, F-15 and the communications and electronics on almost every aircraft in the Air Force.

Last year, the operational revenue was in the triple digits of millions behind in the budget, while this year, the complex is $17 million on the right side of the budget. In production hours, it has gone from 5 percent behind to 10.5 percent ahead.

"We're going to be the best air logistics complex on the planet," Lindsley said. "There isn't a problem we can't solve." 

For the first time in 22 months, the group will have an on-time delivery of an F-15. Mueller - whose unit celebrated its 50th anniversary last year - said the mission of his group is to let commanders have the ability to command and control personnel overseas as well as stateside with the use of tactical communication systems.

All the commanders thanked the community for its support of the base and its personnel.

"It's not just a bumper sticker or an acronym in the bushes; it's a heartfelt sentiment," Hill said of the saying, "Every Day in Middle Georgia is Armed Forces Appreciation Day."