KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
Driving through the front gate every morning the words “Air Superiority Starts Here” scroll across the marquee. This serves as a reminder of the 173rd Fighter Wing’s mission statement: “Train F-15 pilots, support combat operations, and serve Oregon… America’s Air Superiority starts here!”
The wing mission statement, along with the vision and wing priorities, were recently updated and published in the 173rd FW Strategic Plan, a tool to communicate organizational goals and actions needed to achieve those goals.
173rd Fighter Wing Commander, Colonel Jeff Smith, says the mission statement was updated to reflect the most recent changes seen across the wing.
“We have a responsibility as leaders within the wing to review and modify our strategic plan on a recurring basis,” says Smith. “We revised the mission statement to add in the 270th Air Traffic Control Squadron and the Intelligence Formal Training Unit; they are nested under the broad umbrella of ‘support combat operations.’”
Smith say that the mission statement, while broad is still inclusive. “We're proud of the contributions all of our 1,000 Airmen make in their various AFSCs and units.”
In addition to the updated mission statement, the Strategic Plan outlines the wing priorities.
“Our wing priorities are People, Mission, Community, and Culture. These directly support the Chief of the National Guard Bureau’s priorities and the mission of the Air National Guard.”
The Air National Guard is called to support three missions for our total force: support the warfight, defend the homeland, and secure our partnerships.
The 173rd FW is routinely called upon to perform all three of these missions, some at the same time. Last summer required Team Kingsley Airmen to assist with State wildfires, support global deployments, and continue to train F-15 pilots for the Combat Air Forces, simultaneously.
“It was an amazing year and I’m incredibly proud of the professionalism and heart with which our Airmen tackled these missions,” said Smith.
As the primary combat reserve to the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, the National Guard provides trained and ready forces. Kingsley Field’s everyday operations reflect this.
“As the sole F-15C training unit for the US Air Force, we play a huge role in supplying air superiority capability to the Combat Air Forces,” notes Smith. “Second, our efforts to recruit, educate and train are critical to the warfight in a multitude of ways—we supply ready, trained Airmen to support combat operations worldwide with agile combat support and the 270th ATCS. In addition, our IFTU is critical to fighter units across the globe, supplying a large number of trained intelligence professionals each year.”
Looking toward the future, Smith notes the importance of adaptive and innovative thinking as the mission continues.
“We deemed 2017 the ‘year of innovation’ at the 173rd Fighter Wing, and we address the importance of an innovative Culture in our strategic plan,” said Smith. “This focus will continue as we move forward, and we will continue to empower the RISE team to tackle process improvement with the intent of enhancing our mission accomplishment while maintaining or improving morale.”
Smith adds that he sees a bright future for the 173rd Fighter Wing.
“We have an amazing team of people at Kingsley Field who have perpetuated a culture of excellence through four decades of fighter training,” he adds. “With that embedded culture, our strong recruiting success, great flying weather, fantastic infrastructure, large uncongested airspace, unrivaled tanker support, and unwavering public support for our mission and people, we think Kingsley Field would be a great place to train America’s F-35 pilots when the F-15 retires.”