AMC hosts Total Force Phoenix Rally at USAF Expeditionary Center

  • Published
  • By Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

Senior leaders from five major commands as well as Mobility Air Force wing commanders, command chiefs, spouses and Headquarters staff gathered for a three-day total force Phoenix Rally at the USAF Expeditionary Center here, Oct 11-13, 2023.

The Rally spent time reviewing resilience and Warrior Heart initiatives, Mobility Guardian 23 lessons learned and observed, and previewing “Beyond the Manifesto,” the third publication by Gen. Mike Minihan, AMC commander, focused on the investments needed for the MAF of the future.

The first day started with a focus on Warrior Heart updates from the several AMC directorates and cross functional teams. The surgeon general discussed updated mental health training through Medic-X, an effort to equip medical providers with multiple capabilities to meet the needs of medical care downrange.

Maj Jane Marlow, team lead for the Warrior Mental Health Cross Functional Team, provided updates to her team’s efforts on three lines of effort: education and access to care, policy and regulatory updates and strengthening our command teams.

“We were able to partner with Headquarters Air Force on the BetterUp coaching program,” said Marlow. “BetterUp allows leaders to work with a civilian coach for four months to get after problem areas that [leaders] might want to focus on and, more importantly, focus on your strengths and how you can leverage those in command.”

Chaplain (Col) Mike Newton, AMC command chaplain, emphasized that since “Airmen are the Magic,” leaders must find the magic-enhancing capabilities that have worked before. He presented data showing a significant societal increase in loneliness and Airmen’s general lack of meaningful connectedness.

“Things don’t get better when people have small lives,” said Newton. “And the military offers them a big life…very diverse, wide relationships both professional and personal, and I think [these relationships are] hiding in plain sight and we don’t use them to the full extent that we can.”

He went on, highlighting multiple recent mental health studies, to emphasize that cultivating factors and conditions that positively impact personal and professional relationships will increase the mental wellness, professional stamina and resilience of our Airmen.  

“The bigger our life is, the more we share it,” said Newton. “The better we can cope.”

A highlight of the event was the Total Force panel comprised of Minihan, Maj Gen Jeffrey Pennington, Deputy Commander, Air Force Reserve Command, and Maj Gen Laurie Farris, Air National Guard Assistant to the Commander, AMC . The panel discussed how to best integrate the Total Force, streamline processes for accessing the National Guard and Reserve forces, and strong Total Force partnerships.

“The relationships here have never been better,” said Farris. “Not perfect, but never better. The best thing we can do is seek to understand each other.”

Attendees also learned about Minihan’s three key observations from MG23: improving the MAF’s ability to explode into theater by focusing on the fundamentals, codifying command relationships, and improving command and control by investing in connectivity for MAF aircraft and ground support personnel.

“I want to achieve irreversible momentum,” said Minihan. “Mobility Guardian was never supposed to be an exercise that we execute perfectly. It was designed to be the exercise where we learned about ourselves, learned what our strengths were, learned the things we need to improve and gave us an idea of how much work we need to do to get where we need to be.”

A key initiative for the Command post-exercise is an aggressive effort to improve the command and control by equipping 25 percent of MAF aircraft and ground personnel with robust and secure connectivity by 2025.

Minihan closed by saying, “I could not be prouder of our readiness, agility and integration, but at the same time, I’ll never admit to being ready enough, agile enough or integrated enough. We still have work to do.”