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AFSOC commander visits 137th SOW

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Kasey M. Phipps
  • 137th Special Operations Wing

The 137th Special Operations Wing (137th SOW) hosted U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife, commander of Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and other AFSOC officials in Oklahoma City, March 7-8, 2020.

The leaders visited for a weekend of immersion in the dynamics of the wing.

The 137th SOW is one of only two Air National Guard wings within AFSOC, which creates both benefits and challenges when looking to increase Guard operations within active duty AFSOC.

“I think the key is in leveraging the strengths of the Guard, which are stability, an experienced workforce, maturity and continuity,” said Slife. “You also have strong local and political support. All of these things are inherent to what the Guard is, and we should find a way to leverage those and look for missions that align with that.”

The immersion weekend was Slife’s first visit to Will Rogers Air National Guard Base (WRANGB) since assuming command of AFSOC in June and included AFSOC Command Chief Master Sgt. Cory Olson. The visit began with the attendance of an Oklahoma Star of Valor Ceremony for a WRANGB Airman. From there, Col. Daniel Fowler and Col. Rick Mutchler, 137th SOW commander and vice commander respectively, introduced the contingent to commanders and subject matter experts during a base-wide tour.

“Our commanders and Airmen were able to speak with Gen. Slife and Chief Olson face-to-face about the capabilities, resources and expertise we offer,” said Fowler. “The visit dramatically increased the situational awareness that AFSOC leadership has of our wing, the contributions we make, and our position in their command.” 

The tour covered a substantial portion of the base’s more than 153 acres, including not only visits to the squadrons, but also the technologies, school houses and training programs developed at WRANGB.

With changes at a national level in mindset and technology, particularly within an emerging peer-to-peer warfare environment, the 137th SOW’s innovation, developmental potential and continuity of experience makes the wing and its members more adaptable as they continue to evolve and find their place within the future of the AFSOC war fighting community.

“In my 30 years of experience, the people don't have to go find the mission; the mission will find the right people,” said Slife. “When you're good at what you do, when you have a good organizational culture, when you have a can-do attitude about things – the mission always tends to gravitate to those people. All those things are hard to find in one place, but the easy thing is to put a mission here. So I'm very optimistic about the future of the wing.”