As Nellis goes, so goes the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. William Rew
  • 57th Wing Commander
"As goes Nellis, so goes the United States Air Force."

During my four assignments here over the last three decades, I have heard that line a lot. So, how is Nellis "going?"

Well, last weekend during our air show, I had the opportunity to explain what Nellis is all about and how we're "going" to some friends of my family who were visiting.

Pete and Dayrene, from a small town in Louisiana, had never been to an air show nor had they ever stepped foot on an Air Force base. So, I was privileged to tell the Nellis story to some great Americans who represent all those we have sworn to serve. That weekend, a smile never left my face as I showed them how all of our Nellis Airmen are either in the fight, supporting the fight or preparing to win any fight that might come our way.

From the large welcome sign at the main gate, my friends quickly understood how we shape the way our forces fight through the three T's -- testing, tactics and training.

They learned that we have the most advanced schools, the most realistic exercises, the most requested assets in the Global War on Terrorism, and the most diverse base and missions in the entire Air Force. They understood that whether a Nellis Airman was refueling an aircraft on the ramp, presenting an intelligence briefing, using the world's best ranges for an advanced test or combat training mission, flying combat sorties over Iraq from Las Vegas, turning a wrench, securing the base or providing health care to our personnel, our Nellis Airmen work incredibly well together as a team.

They were amazed at the combat power of our fighter, bomber, mobility, tanker, reconnaissance and trainer aircraft displayed on the ramp. The Thunderbirds awed them with their precise flying and superb ground shows. But they were literally overwhelmed, and I mean overwhelmed by the professional, competent and friendly attitude of each and every Nellis Airmen they talked to. From the volunteers working the flightline to the services troops in the billeting office to the pilots and crew chiefs standing by their static displays, that Nellis positive attitude was consistent.

We're busy here at Nellis, but we're all proud to be part of a team that has an enormous impact on how the world's best Air Force fights and wins. We take war fighting seriously as we focus our efforts on the combatant commanders around the world who rely on our air, space and cyberspace combat power to achieve their regional objectives. We concentrate on whatever it takes to win both today and tomorrow across a full spectrum of potential challenges. We continuously deploy to the fight, facing the full brunt of insurgent warfare while we still run one of the world's busiest bases back home. We never stand still, always striving to be relevant to the war fighters.

My friends, Pete and Dayrene, may someday forget all that I told them about what we do here at Nellis. For quite some time, they will probably recall the images of the Thunderbird bomb burst, the F-22 climbing straight into the sky, and the classic combinations of our heritage flights. But I know they will never forget how you, their Airmen made them feel. Proud of what you do, proud to serve and proud to be part of the best Air Force in the world!

"How goes Nellis?" some might ask. As we approach our great Air Force's 60th anniversary, the answer is quite simple, "Never been better!" Thank you Team Nellis.