By Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever, 31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 19, 2020
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 510th Fighter Squadron gains altitude at Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 16, 2020. The 510th FS was originally formed as the 625th Bombardment Squadron (Dive), 405th Bombardment Group, at Drew Field, Florida, in 1943, flying the Douglas A-24 Banshee. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 510th Fighter Squadron soars above Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 16, 2020. The 31st Fighter Wing is dedicated to remaining lethal and rapidly ready while operating within the confines of the decrees set by the Italian government. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)
A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon from the 510th Fighter Squadron takes off at Aviano Air Base, Italy, March 16, 2020. The 510th FS provides combat airpower on demand to U.S. and NATO combatant commanders as well as the National Command Authority in order to meet National Security objectives.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Ericka A. Woolever)
The 31st Fighter Wing is dedicated to remaining lethal and rapidly ready while operating within the confines of very important decrees set down by the Italian government.
These decrees have been set in place to minimize movement in Italy, in hopes to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which has spread globally.
While supporting the Italian government with the COVID-19 threat, the 31st FW is responding appropriately to protect the health of the force and maintain operational readiness.
“The 510th Fighting Squadron has maintained operations at normal frequency and scope as COVID-19 challenges the local area, continuing to fly daily sorties at the rate required to maintain mission readiness for all pilots in the unit,” said Captain Jeffrey M. Movsesian, 510th FS pilot. “Our combat training plan revisits every core F-16 mission set 2-3 times each year, resulting in consistent proficiency across air-to-air and air-to-ground disciplines.”
Movsesian said that they are taking precaution by closely following local laws and medical recommendations in order to keep every member of the unit healthy, which directly translates to the combat capability of the 31st FW.
The 31st Operations Group ensures the combat readiness of two F-16CG fighter squadrons, one HH-60G rescue squadron, one Guardian Angel rescue squadron, one air control squadron, and one operational support squadron conducting and supporting worldwide air operations.
Although each of these squadrons maintains varied missions, they all have one very significant commonality, each of their missions are built upon the backs of dedicated and proud Airmen.
“The [31st Operation Support Squadron] has prioritized our people, making sure we are taking care of them and their families, all while supporting worldwide Wyvern Ops,” said Senior Master Sgt. Katherine M. Hardy, 31st OSS superintendent. “Our members are able to remain mission focused by supporting one another through these difficult times, and taking time for themselves and their families as needed.”
Knowing that Airmen are the biggest asset, it is vital that we continue to care, support and connect with all Airmen during various challenges.
“I connect with my Airmen and families across the wing and Air Force by managing multiple social media platforms,” said Master Sgt. Monica L. Doctor, 57th Rescue Squadron first sergeant. “As leaders, it's imperative that we use these platforms appropriately.”
Doctor has pushed out mission status updates, physical home workouts, shared positive encouraging posts, and also checked in on the mental health of Aviano Airmen.
“This helps to mitigate the feelings of being left out or alone during these ‘out-of-the-norm’ conditions while reinforcing our four pillars that unite and strengthen us as a Wyvern Nation...anywhere, anytime,” said Doctor.
The 31st FW will always find a way to deter through safe, secure, effective operations, while winning today’s fight and being ready to win tomorrow’s fight.
“For us as a wing, mission wise, we are fully mission capable,” said Brig. Gen. Daniel T. Lasica, 31st FW commander, during a virtual town hall. “You hear jets flying today, you hear HH-60s flying today. We had all our pacing squadrons operating, getting that combat readiness. So we are fully mission capable. We are enabled to do any tasking our nation may ask of it. But it’s primarily because of our awesome Airmen and once again our spouses.”