AFSC commander travels off the beaten path in Utah

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Lt. Gen. Lee K. Levy II, Air Force Sustainment Center commander, visited Hill Air Force Base for an immersion tour on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

The Air Force Sustainment Center may be best known for its three logistics complexes and as the “Numbered Air Force for Logistics”, but AFSC is made up of eight wings and also oversees all the operations at three installations: Hill; Robins AFB, Georgia; and Tinker AFB, Oklahoma. 

During his visit, Levy received an up-close look at one of the largest facilities in AFSC, the Utah Test and Training Range, and the partnership required to keep what many refer to as a “national treasure” a viable test and training area for the warfighter.

The group traveled with The Utah National Guard’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jefferson Burton, via UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.

Located in Utah’s West Desert, the range is a complex operation and provides support to every branch of the armed services. The 75th Air Base Wing at Hill manages the range, providing personnel, facilities, fire and emergency services, and support to the 388th Fighter Wing’s test and training operations.  

“We just wrapped up Combat Hammer with aircraft from across the Air Force. We dropped hundreds of munitions and had over 190 strafing runs,” said Col. Chris Gough, 388th Fighter Wing UTTR commander. “We always had targets available because we receive great support from the 75th Air Base Wing. I’m very confident that any requirements we receive from our customers, the 75th can provide.”

There are hundreds of targets on the range and many of them are fully instrumented with live data and telemetry that can be relayed directly to pilots. There is also high-speed digital imagery and video available, which is invaluable for pilot feedback.

The general also received a briefing on the 309th Missile Maintenance Group’s operations at the range, including dissection of missile stages and static fire testing to ensure the readiness of the nation’s fleet of ICBM’s.

Levy also met with a group of missile maintenance Airmen responsible for transporting the missile stages. The group is currently developing new processes to speed and improve the testing and evaluation of ICBM stages.

Because of its size and remote location, the range is also the only place for the DOD to safely dispose of aged solid-propellant rocket motors in compliance with international treaties. Airmen from the 775th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight work in conjunction with Hill AFB environmental engineers and program managers from the Navy and Air Force to schedule detonations.

The team disposed of a 10,000-pound solid-propellant motor during the visit. In 2014, more than 140 motors were eliminated from the nation’s inventory.

During his visit to Hill, Levy also presided over the Ogden Air Logistics Complex change of command and visited several of the depot’s critical mission areas, including the 20-30 millimeter gun shop, hydraulics repair, landing gear repair, and multiple aircraft production lines.

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