MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho --
12th Air Force Commander,
AFSOUTH, Lt. Gen. Mark Kelly, visited here, Feb 22 to 24.
Kelly represents seven
wings in the 12th Air Force, including the 366th Fighter Wing. In his position
he advocates on behalf of the airmen to senior leadership and congress to ensure
the support needed to generate and execute the mission is met.
Although the base has had
many distinguished visitors, Kelly is a little different from the rest. He
served as the 366th FW vice commander from 2007 to 2008. Having been previously
stationed here, gives him a better understanding of the base mission and
“He has familiarity with
the mission and the base – being a F-15E pilot and having been a wing commander
three times,” said Colonel Jefferson O’Donnell, 366th FW commander. “He’ll (have) a previous
knowledge and a better understanding.”
Despite having spent time
here, many things were new to Kelly, the base has undergone many changes over
the last few years.
His visit not only
included recognizing top performers and spending time speaking with airmen from
different career fields such as 366th Security Forces Squadron and the 726th
Air Control Squadron, but also seeing the updates made to the base since his
departure almost 10 years ago.
Since his time as vice
commander here, the runway has been reconstructed, sunshades have been built
for the aircraft, housing has become privatized and family oriented facilities
such as the theatre and kids gym have been created.
Regardless of what is and
isn’t familiar to him, this visit provided airmen with what can sometimes be a
“It’s an opportunity for
our airmen and our Gunfighters to engage with a senior leader who has a
significant amount of experience,” O’Donnell said. “He’s able to bring messages
to our airmen directly, and let them know what’s going on in their Air Force
and answer any questions they might have about what’s happening in the future.”
In spite of only being
here for a day and a half, his visit was insightful and encouraging to airmen
and leaders alike.
“General Kelly and his
team are engaged despite all that they are responsible for,” O’Donnell said,
“So, his visit and his time to talk to our airmen and to pass on messages and
take messages back to (the) big Air Force is truly appreciated.”