NEWS | Aug. 24, 2021

New Second Air Force commander tours Gateway Wing

By Christa D’Andrea 37th Training Wing Public Affairs

The Gateway Wing recently had the opportunity to showcase its mission and people last week to provide the new Second Air Force commander a close-up and in-depth look into the 37th Training Wing mission.

Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson assumed command of the Second Air Force, headquartered at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, on July 30. She is responsible for the development, oversight and direction of all operational aspects of basic military training, initial skills training and advanced technical training of all Air Force enlisted members and support officers.

“I’m so excited to be back in this world,” Edmondson said during her opening remarks to 37th TRW leadership. “I love our Airmen and Guardians and to be a part of the missions and people that mold them. I believe we have the highest privilege and honor to do what we do.”

The Gateway Wing was the first stop on the general’s planned trips to visit her technical training installations, but it’s not her first time here. The general previously served as the group commander for the 737th Training Group, Air Force Basic Military Training, in 2014-2015.

Her immersion provided an opportunity to rekindle her passion for training Airmen and Guardians as well as learn about changes implemented across the wing’s four unique missions.

The Second Air Force command chief, Chief Master Sgt. Adam Vizi, also traveled with her to meet and greet Airmen and Guardians across the wing.

Their immersion and introduction to the largest training base in the Air Force meant the 2d Air Force command team had the opportunity to recognize a number of Airmen, Guardians and civilians at each location they visited.

Additionally, they received in-depth briefings about the Department of Defense Military Working Dog program, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, the Defense Language Institute English Language Center, basic military training, and the 37th Training Group which is responsible for training in more than 24 different Air Force specialties.

The chief, who’s been in the position since September 2020, described the 37th TRW mission as one that we have to get right.

“It’s not because we have to, but because we need to. We develop the Airmen we need here,” he said. “This is the initial stage of developing the foundational competencies, and building them [Airmen and Guardians] from the ground up, so we can continue to develop them through tech training.”

The chief also described that the wing’s technical training mission, and the DLIELC and IAAFA missions are crucial to building partnership capacity.

“The wing truly touches every single person in our Air Force and our partner nations,” he added.

The general also reviewed the Aug 12 BMT graduation ceremony and administered the oath of enlistment to more than 640 Airmen and Guardians.

“You are less than one percent of the population that is willing to raise their right hand, dawn the fabric of your nation and serve this great country,” she said to the graduating class and family members in attendance.

She told graduates that they are entering during an era defined by strategic competition, an era that drove the creation of the Space Force and that the Air Force is looking toward them to maintain the strategic military advantage.

Vizi also addressed the graduates and reminded them of the commitment they have signed up for. 

“You are our combat advantage. You are our nation’s combat power. We need you to be ready to take the fight to our adversaries.”

The 37th TRW trains and graduates more than 80,000 students annually from the Department of the Air Force, other military services, government agencies and coalition partners from more than 100 countries. Additionally, it operates schools at nine locations throughout the United States and is the Department of Defense executive agent for training military working dogs and handlers.