NEWS | March 1, 2021

Eighteenth Air Force leaders visit Joint Base Charleston service members

By Senior Airman Allison Payne Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Maj. Gen. Thad Bibb 18th Air Force commander, paid a visit to Joint Base Charleston  Airmen Feb. 24-26, 2021, as part of an effort to learn more about the daily mission of the 437th Airlift Wing and its support to the 18th Air Force. Bibb was accompanied by Chief Master Sgt. Chad W. Bickley, 18th Air Force command chief master sergeant.

Hosted by Col. Jaron Roux, 437th AW commander, 18th Air Force leaders toured various facilities across the installation for a behind-the-scenes look at base operations while also visiting with service members in action.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this team,” said Bibb. “When I think of this team, I think of Olympians standing on a pedestal, medals beaming, with ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ playing in the background. I feel like I know what it’s like to be on the best team in the world because I get to work with Team Charleston. The Airmen here have shown that being an incredible Airman isn’t about the number of stripes you wear, but the heart and dedication to our mission and our teammates.”

The 18th Air Force, headquartered at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., is Air Mobility Command’s only Numbered Air Force and one of the Air Force’s largest NAFs. Commanded by Bibb, it is charged with ensuring readiness and sustainment of approximately 36,000 active-duty, Reserve and civilian Airmen. 

 “This team is leading from the front and it’s up to us as leaders to keep giving our people what they need to continue being able to do so,” said Bickley. “It’s leaders like the ones here that make that possible.”

18th Air Force is responsible for the command’s worldwide operational mission of providing rapid, global mobility and sustainment for America’s armed forces through airlift, aerial refueling, aeromedical evacuation and a global air mobility support system.

“What’s amazing is we’re in the best Air Force in the world,” said Bibb. “We’re all working together coming from different backgrounds to accomplish the mission. Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do are such strong values we uphold. All of these values are heavily demonstrated by the service members here.”

During their visit, Bibb and Bickley received mission briefings from various agencies, recognized numerous unit’s star performers, met daily with base leadership, visited several other installation operations and amenities and co-hosted an all-hands call.

“I personally love to go out and visit Airmen,” said Bickley. “We’ve been on the road the past few weeks and it really gets our hearts pumping to meet these amazing men and women.”

Units reporting to 18th Air Force consist of two stand-alone groups and 12 wings, including Joint Base Charleston’s 437th Airlift Wing. Additionally, the 18th Air Force is responsible for 400 aircraft, consisting of 11 different airframes.

“This has been an incredible three days,” said Bibb. “I appreciate what the team here does, we are truly blown away by what we’ve seen. We want to express our thanks for the service and sacrifice of the service members here at Joint Base Charleston. This team is truly a championship team and it’s an honor to serve alongside you.”