By Jeff Harrison
One of the top commanders in the U.S. Air Force visited Tinker Air Force Base last week.
Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., Commander of the Air Force Materiel Command, met with airmen and community partners during an educational trip to learn about the Air Force Sustainment Center and the 72nd Air Base Wing. Tinker Air Force Base is part of the Air Force Materiel Command.
Bunch spoke to reporters on July 24 as he wrapped up his trip to the Oklahoma City base. The four-star general said the Air Force Sustainment Center is a key piece in the overall mission and commended Tinker airmen and civilian employees for their work.
“They keep legacy fleet going,” Bunch said. “They (fleet) are there only because of the great work, the herculean effort and frankly the magic of the men and women that work in this organization.”
Bunch said Tinker has a bright future with the additions of the KC-46A and B-21 depots, as well as development of additive manufacturing.
He said the trip also helps him have a better understanding of what employees need to do their job and any impediments to their productivity. Bunch said that understanding will help with, “The Air Force Materiel Command We Need,” a new initiative aimed at growing and improving the command.
Bunch also spoke briefly about the issues surrounding on base housing. Bunch said airmen and their families are the most important and valuable resource and they need to be responsive to their needs and make sure they live in safe conditions. He supported Air Force’s decision to suspend incentive payments to military housing provider Balfour Beatty Communities, LLC. in response to a news report that the company falsified maintenance records.
“Taking care of airmen is a commander’s business,” he said. “I talked to Col. (Paul) Filcek about the hazard situation and gave him my full support for what he’s doing to get after this.”
Bunch is Commander, Air Force Materiel Command, headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for installation and mission support, discovery and development, test and evaluation, life cycle management services and sustainment of virtually every major Air Force weapon system. The command employs approximately 80,000 people and manages $60 billion of budget authority annually.
Bunch took command of the Air Force Materiel Command in May. He worked in the Pentagon for the previous four years.