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AFRC Commander Kicks off 2023 Road Show in Alaska

  • Published
  • By Melony Bagwell
  • 477th Fighter Group

The commander of Air Force Reserve Command kicked off his 2023 command road show here with a Jan 6-7 visit to the 477th Fighter Group, an associate unit that flies and maintains the F-22A Raptor fighter jet alongside active duty Airmen. 

“I wanted to start our 2023 road show at JBER because no AFRC commander has visited there since 2011 and the mission is immediately vital to national security,” said Lt. Gen. John Healy, who serves as both the AFRC commander and chief of the Air Force Reserve. “We want to hear from as many Airmen as we can from across the command to ensure what we are doing back at headquarters is helping them be ready now to respond to emergent threats.” 

Prior to his visit here, Healy met with Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski’s staff as part of a recent Capitol Hill visit. When asked about concurrent and proportional fielding, Healy conveyed caution about the Air Force Reserve’s size. “Our ability to maintain true readiness at a lower cost will be continually at odds with a shrinking force and more complicated as budget tightening looms,” he said.   

The general started his JBER visit by meeting with Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson who is an avid supporter of the military. Bronson said, “As a former active duty Air Force pilot, an Air Force reservist, and an Alaska Air National Guard member, I’m appreciative of the Air Force Reserve here in Alaska and the strategic impact every Airman provides to protect our country, and their economic impact that adds value to our way of life here in Anchorage.” 

“I really enjoyed sitting down and speaking with Mayor Bronson,” the general said. “He has the best interest of our Airmen at heart because of his perspective as a retired Air Force pilot.  Also, Alaska has the largest population of veterans per capita, so the community has a great relationship with our Airmen too.” 

Healy also visited Lt. Gen. David Nahom who is the Commander of Alaskan Command, Eleventh Air Force, and the Alaskan North American Defense Region. They met to have a constructive conversation about the enduring mission of the 477th Fighter Group and F-22. 

However, Healy spent most of his time talking with Airmen from across the group during their unit training assembly weekend. “The men and women of the 477th are really living up to their vision of being a lethal fighting force,” Healy said. “The 302nd Fighter Squadron is the most experienced F-22 squadron in the Air Force, that makes the Total Force here at JBER stronger.  Along with the expert maintainers, this is an amazing unit.” 

Col. Jonathan Gration Jr., 477th FG commander hosted Healy for the visit.  “It’s always great to have AFRC leadership here at JBER, especially the commander of Air Force Reserve Command,” said Gration. “Our Fighter Group is ready now to provide fifth-generation combat air power. Together with our 3rd Wing partners, we are the world’s premier air power providers.” 

Reservists from the 477th are fully integrated with their active-duty mission partners from the active duty 3rd Wing. They often fill positions in operations and maintenance when the 3rd Wing has a shortfall. 

In addition to seeing 477th Airmen in action, Healy presented coins to several outstanding performers. “We are doing these unit visits to witness first-hand the excellence of our Reserve Citizen Airmen,” Healy said. “And one of the best parts is being able to recognize those Airmen who continually exceed expectations.” 

On future road show visits scheduled for 2023, Healy will be joined by his senior enlisted advisor, Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White.  They plan to be out for as many unit training assemblies as possible in the coming year.