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455th AEW commander, command chief visit Jalalabad Airfield

  • Published
  • By Maj. Tony M. Wickman
  • 455 AEW/PA
(Editor’s Note: the last name of certain Airmen are withheld in accordance with operational security requirements)

Brig. Gen. Dave Julazadeh, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Matt Grengs, 455th AEW command chief, visited the 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, Detachment 1 at Jalalabad Airfield, July 20 as part of a battlefield circulation tour to see Airmen and get updated on the ongoing mission at the remote airfield.

The general and chief met with Airmen from across the detachment who provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for U.S. and Coalition forces operating outside the wire. It was an opportunity to personally thank Airmen for their service on the combat frontier, while also learning about what plans were being developed as the U.S. military transitions its mission in the coming months.

“I went to Jalalabad to see our Airmen…to see how they live and work and integrate with the other partners on the base,” said Julazadeh. “Right now there are a lot of decisions that need to be made regarding the future of our forces in Afghanistan. As the commander of the 455th AEW, I need to be able to articulately accurately to the commander of Resolute Support and my immediate boss, Maj. Gen. West (9th Air Expeditionary Task Force-Afghanistan commander), exactly what resources we have and what resources we will need to continue our mission.”

The general said this trip and all future trips will help him narrow down in scope exactly what the Air Force needs to do as the U.S. transitions its mission over the next year and a half.

According to Maj. Rob, detachment commander and senior airfield authority for JAF, the visit was an opportunity to showcase the small team of Airmen doing an important mission to the new wing leaders.

“Today we had our senior leaders come out to JAF to see the 62nd ERS, Det. 1,” said Maj. Rob. “Our mission here is to launch and recover half of the MQ-1 aircraft currently in theater in support of the air tasking order. Any chance we can get senior leaders to take time out of their busy schedules and get boots on the ground here to shake hands and meet the Airmen doing the mission and see how we live, it’s a good day.”

The detachment commander said another aspect of their mission is teaming up with base partners to provide support for the combined defense of the base and the immediate area of Jalalabad.

Maj. Rob said that while he has only been at JAF a short time, he is impressed with his small team.

“I’ve only been here a few weeks, but the best thing so far is the team working together in an austere environment to get the mission done,” he said.

The general agreed and was impressed by dedication and mission focus by the Airmen at JAF.

“If anyone has been out to Jalalabad, there isn’t a whole lot out there. The base is very bare, so they work on and focus on the mission every day,” said the general. “Their attitude was amazing. They were happy and excited to be there.”
The general said it was refreshing to see young Airmen excited to be doing what they are doing at JAF. An example of that dedication to mission came from a young Security Forces member.

“There was one young Airman I talked to who didn’t want to go home. She wanted to stay here and continue the mission,” Julazadeh said. “Their dedication and motivation to accomplish the mission is what impressed me the most.”

The general said the trip was a great opportunity to get out and see some of the other missions U.S. Air Force personnel accomplish in theater, and how Airmen link in and support other theater personnel.

“It’s a very strong team down at Jalalabad, just like here at Bagram. I’m very pleased to see the interaction and cooperation done every day by the team at Jalalabad,” the general said. “It left a great impression.”

The 62nd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Squadron, Detachment 1 is a geographically-separated unit of the 451st Air Expeditionary Group at Kandahar Airfield. As one of the five groups assigned to the 455th AEW, the 451st AEG operates the E-11, MQ-1B Predator and MQ-9 Reaper aircraft at Kandahar and Jalalabad airfields to ensure information superiority to commanders here by delivering timely, accurate, relevant and coherent intelligence and communication datalinks so the U.S. and its partners can conduct their operations.