JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
Gen. Darren McDew, Air Mobility Command commander, and his wife Evelyn met with Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen and their families here recently to learn about their issues and concerns.
He spent much of his visit July 9 through 11, 2014 touring the JB Charleston - Weapons Station, seeing a variety of missions performed by the more than 17,000 Department of Defense employees there.
Though not a stranger to Charleston, having commanded the 14th Airlift Squadron here from 1997-1999, McDew's tenure preceded the formation of joint basing.
"In my previous role I really concentrated on just one aspect of this installation. This visit, I was able to explore the totality of Joint Base Charleston," he said.
McDew commented on the enormity of the mission, to include the Navy's nuclear power training mission and Army logistics. He also noted the benefit that joint basing has brought, in terms of learning from different services.
"I've had a number of joint assignments, and I enjoy getting the slightly different view of a problem from a different service. What I found is great answers and great solutions really don't know a uniform color."
When asked about the success of joint basing here, McDew said:
Charleston is producing "great Airmen and Sailors, winning awards at great levels and not willing to rest on their laurels ... not waiting and just watching history, but actually making new history - and that's impressive."
McDew and his wife, Evelyn spent much of their time meeting with DOD civilian employees, contractors and local civic leaders along with servicemembers and their families. They learned about their jobs and concerns, and shared perspective from the AMC headquarters level.
The general also used meal times as an opportunity for less formal conversations with servicemembers, hosting a breakfast with 20 junior enlisted members on July 10 and then again, for 20 company grade officers the next day. During these meetings, the general addressed topics ranging from future joint base improvements to recent services centralization to force management, and offered leadership perspective from his 32 years on active duty.
A major theme included the need for bold leadership from servicemembers at every level.
McDew also addressed the way ahead for the armed services in a time of ongoing budget difficulties.
"One thing I want all (servicemembers) to know is that we will face any and all challenges together. We are all in this together ... we will be able to get through it because we have each other.
"The second thing I want servicemembers to know is the secret, that antidote, for the things we will face is leadership. It is leadership at every level, leadership from every person. Everybody should feel empowered to be helping ... and I'm convinced that on the other side our bold Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen will get us through this challenge and our next challenge just like they always have."
McDew took command of AMC May 5, 2014, becoming its 11th commander. He is responsible for more than 130,000 active duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and DOD civilian employees comprising AMC.