Third AF commander experiences 39th ABW mission, partnerships during visit to Incirlik AB

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Jonathan Lovelady
  • 39th Air Base Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Randall Reed, Third Air Force commander, and members of his senior staff visited Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Oct. 14-15, 2021. 

While here, Reed met with senior leaders and Airmen for discussions on a variety of topics including NATO’s strategic relationship with Turkey, the importance of international collaboration and the 39th Air Base Wing’s role in supporting Third AF missions. 

“It’s always a pleasure to host senior leaders like Maj. Gen. Reed,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Gingrich, 39th Air Base Wing commander. “Visits like this one enable us to showcase our diverse set of Airmen and Guardians and our wing’s capabilities. Our team of dedicated warriors is constantly working on new and innovative ways to support Third Air Force and Department of Defense-level objectives. Equally as important, these engagements allow Maj. Gen. Reed to see firsthand our invaluable collaboration with mission partners and allies in defense of NATO’s southern flank.”  

After receiving a wing mission brief from 39th Air Base Wing Airmen, Reed and Gingrich attended an office call with Turkish Air Force Brig. Gen. Gürel Özusta, commander of 10th Tanker Base Command and Incirlik AB. These two leaders have met on multiple occasions since Reed assumed command of Third Air Force. 

Reed noted the importance of collaboration between the U.S. and Turkey and highlighted how the similarities between the two NATO allies outweigh the differences. 

“We both have very large Air Forces – in fact we’re the largest two in the alliance – and that drives us to work together,” he explained. “Despite the differences in culture, despite how we may be educated, despite how we may even see and perceive each other, everything works out here because we communicate, we have an open mind and we have a common purpose. It’s the common purpose that really keeps us strong.”

In addition to meeting with base and wing leaders, Reed visited a number of units and toured facilities around the base including the base dormitories, the 39th Medical Group and the 93rd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. He also held group discussions with 39th ABW personnel at the Airman, noncommissioned officer and senior leader levels, respectively. 

“My expectation is that Airmen will do what Airmen do, and that’s wake up every day with the expectation to be awesome,” Reed said. “Every time I come here, that’s exactly what I find. I really do appreciate the fact that folks are professional. They come here with an open mind; they’re only here for a short time, but they learn exactly what they need to learn here and leadership provides lots of opportunities for folks to be creative. I’m really happy that everyone here takes advantage of that.”

Reed also expressed his gratitude to Titan Airmen for making the most of their time in Turkey, learning about the culture and acting as ambassadors of the U.S. military. 

“Once they get here and they find out just how incredible it is, they immerse themselves in it [and] they make the most of it,” he said. “Somewhere down the line, there is someone who sees an American for the first time, and there’s no better American to see than our Airmen.”

While he has visited Incirlik AB on multiple occasions as commander of Third Air Force, Reed explained how his investment in Titan Airmen and Turkey dates back to his previous assignment as the senior defense official and defense attaché in Ankara. 

“I was officially the senior most military member in the country, working directly for the ambassador and the commander of [U.S. European Command],” Reed recalled. “Big responsibility, but part of my focus was making sure the Airmen here had everything they needed to get the mission done, and that they were able to work smoothly side by side with the armed forces of Turkey. 

“From that perspective, it shows the broad and deep cooperation that we have between the two nations, and both nations look at Incirlik as the example of what ‘right’ looks like when it comes to cooperation,” he added. 

Before leaving, Reed thanked the base, wing and Turkish local national employees for hosting him and advised Team Titan to continue the trend of “Airmen being Airmen.” 

“Just be the best that you can be,” he said. “That is someone who is professional, someone who works to improve the unit and someone who takes care of each other. As we take care of each other inside the Air Force uniform, it’s natural for us to expand that out, to want to cooperate and to help others want to be successful. As soon as we do that, then life is great. Quite frankly, nobody does it better than Titans.”