First-Hand Look

Recapitalization of the fleet was on the mind of Gen. Donald Hoffman, commander of Air Force Materiel Command, as he visited the 386th Air Expeditionary Wing Feb. 9 at an air base in Southwest Asia as part of his first tour of the combat theater since taking over AFMC last November. “Today I sat in the cockpits of three or four different aircraft, and these are vintage aircraft,” said Hoffman. He added, “They have steam-driven gauges and round dials.” While airmen are doing a great job in operating and sustaining these aircraft, Hoffman said, “we, as a nation, owe them better, and better does exist out there.” But it takes resources and “that’s our challenge right now.” New weapons, he said, must not only be combat-effective but also cost-effective. And, since the Air Force is unable to replace every asset as quickly as it would like, “we have to continue to figure out new and creative ways of sustaining our existing aircraft,” he said. (386th AEW report by SSgt. Thomas J. Doscher)