ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. – Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., Air Force Materiel Command commander, visited Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, May 8, to view ongoing mission efforts and review “return to full capacity” operational execution plans in progress.
“There have been countless Robins members who continued to carry on the mission here during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Bunch. “From healthcare workers and first responders, to the men and women on the flight line, in software labs, at avionics test stations, and in machine shops in the depot, to those here who support the installation to keep things running, I want to thank each and every one of you for your resiliency and efforts during these trying times.”
Robins’ units continued to execute their critical Air Force missions despite COVID-19 restrictions and hurdles.
The Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex continued to meet global warfighter requirements, including completing depot maintenance and delivery of aircraft to the 48th Fighter Wing, Royal Air Forces Lakenheath, England, and to the Air Force Special Operations Command, Hurlburt Field, Florida.
“I recognize the work environment here at the WR-ALC continues to have challenges as it modifies policies and procedures amidst COVID-19 restrictions,” Bunch said. “It’s gratifying to see the innovation and willingness of everyone to step up and adjust their routines to get the mission done.”
Brig. Gen. John Kubinec, WR-ALC commander, agreed.
“Our team once again demonstrated their commitment to the mission over these last two months,” Kubinec said. “I know it’s not easy to accomplish our mission while worrying about our families back at home. These men and women produced airpower and enabled our warfighters to respond to threats around the globe despite having to change our most fundamental processes—processes that in some cases have been in place since 1947. It is clear we still have a ways to go, but I know our team is equal to the task … and we will better protect them while doing so, so they can keep their loved ones safe.
“As we move forward with our return to full capacity,” Kubinec continued, “I am certain we will rise to the challenge of doing everything we can to lower the risk of infection.”
Bunch, along with Kubinec, also took this opportunity to recognize teams and individuals at the WR-ALC for their contributions during the pandemic.
“Excellent work has been done by all the team members at the complex,” Bunch said. “No matter what was thrown their way, WR-ALC team members rose to the challenge.”
Bunch also visited Air Force Life Cycle Management Center units at Robins, the 78th Medical Group, Security Forces and the Logistics Readiness Squadron.
At the 78th MDG, Bunch viewed processes, including COVID-19 screening and testing, and methods in place to trace COVID-19 positive patient contacts.
“The 78th Medical Group has been aggressively gathering and tracking data during this crisis,” said Col. Brian Moore, Robins Installation Commander. “It’s one of the driving efforts to get our installation back to operating at full capacity. And while doing this, the group has ensured the greatest safety of their patients while still providing top-notch medical care.”
The medical group has worked social distancing into their daily operations along with patient screening as soon as you walk in the door. Separate patient waiting areas were established for low-risk and high-risk individuals. Drive-thru testing keeps potentially infected individuals completely separated from the rest of the patient population.
“The tireless and innovative efforts put forth by all our medical professionals has never ceased to amaze me,” said Bunch. “I couldn’t be prouder of these men and women who have been on the front lines to help in the battle against COVID-19 from day one.”
At the 78th SFS commercial gate and 78th LRS, Bunch viewed ongoing operations and was briefed on the execution plans for the future. Both organizations have changed their procedures to accommodate for Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, such as “no touch” ID checks and collaborating with multiple organizations to ensure the safety of Robins’ deployers and redeployers.
“The teamwork and support from the community enabled Robins to accomplish its mission during COVID-19, ensuring readiness for our warfighters around the world,” Bunch said.
Bunch also discussed initial plans for “return to full capacity” currently in progress.
“Despite having to make adjustments for COVID-19, the teams here at Robins have led the way for Air Force Materiel Command in many respects, integrating across the base to accomplish all critical missions together,” Bunch said. “They have shown amazing unity and flexibility, and I have no doubt this teamwork will continue as we return to full capacity.”
The return to full capacity here will begin May 11 and span three phases. During the initial phase, facilities will begin to reopen and services will increase. The number one priority remains the safety and well-being of Robins’ personnel.
“I am so proud of how Team Robins has handled the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moore said. “Now that we have received transition guidance from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and everyone is getting a better understanding of how to mitigate and handle our new normal, it’s time to begin returning to full capacity as safely and effectively as possible.”
Each individual must remain vigilant and accountable for following all guidelines wherever possible.
“The AFMC mission is critical to the Air Force and national defense strategy, and it can’t be accomplished without all the great work being done here at Robins,” Bunch said. “Our warfighters depend on us to accomplish our mission so they can execute theirs.”
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