Team Seymour welcomes ACC commander

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  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

From modernized equipment and technology to major problem-solving at the squadron level, the 4th Fighter Wing has been cultivating innovation throughout the wing.

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base showcased that innovation within multiple units to Gen. Mark Kelly, commander of Air Combat Command, Dec. 17-18.

The 4th Security Forces Squadron gave Kelly, a former 4 FW commander, a tour of the current Combat Arms Training and Maintenance facility. Tech. Sgt. Michael Boutte, 4th Security Forces Squadron Combat Arms Training and Maintenance NCO in charge said the facility is set to be renovated in order to accommodate larger classes and improve the facilities current ventilation system. Kelly also had the opportunity to fire the Air Force’s new pistol, the M18.

Day-to-day force protection and security operations is key to the defense of the wing and that is why the 4 SFS is currently using a reconnaissance and intelligence drone according to Airman 1st Class Paul Vega, 4th Security Forces Squadron armory assistant. It provides a live-stream feed to the controller, and has the capability of using Night Vision technology to provide imperative knowledge to teams no matter what environment they find themselves in. The drone has been used in several exercises, to include the most recent joint-exercise, Razor Talon 21-1, used at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina.

Seymour Johnson’s Defenders exemplified Agile Combat Employment and their capabilities by performing a shoot, move and communicate demonstration. Airmen simulated a hostile environment where the team needed successful communication in order to secure the area. Security Forces also provides this training to classes graduating Airman Leadership School, pairing their recent professional experiences with tactical experiences for an all-around multifaceted combat leader.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Hall, 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron avionics back shop support team lead showed Kelly how the 4th Equipment Maintenance Squadron and 4th Component Maintenance Squadron is taking innovative steps to repairing F-15E Strike Eagles faster than traditional methods, keeping the force more ready and lethal than ever.

The squadrons teamed up to create machines used to calibrate and repair actuator systems on the Strike Eagle. Rather than traditionally sending these components to be remanufactured, these Airmen are now capable of making the equipment functional again right in their own shops, streamlining the process and getting our aircraft back in the air much sooner.

“This is awesome,” said Col. Kurt Helphinstine, 4th Fighter Wing commander. “In a fourth-gen fighter world, we’re not getting new parts. We’ve got to figure out how to fix what we can, and this is ingenuity at its best. It’s exactly what the Air Force needs.”

That sentiment was shared by Kelly when discussing his time with Team Seymour.

“Most places I go, we run into great Airmen everywhere, but they usually don’t take it as far as these guys have,” stated Kelly. “Units say they can help ACC help itself with a certain amount of funding, per se, but they decided to just build it themselves. That kind of initiative is rare, and it’s valued and very appreciated. If I didn’t have this mask on you could see me smiling.”