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Deliver, Develop, Deploy, Demonstrate -- the fuel for Vance Pride

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Alyssa Letts
  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. -- Vance Air Force Base’s mission is to “Deliver the world's best pilots to defend our nation.”

As one of only three undergraduate pilot training bases in the Air Force, and the lead in innovation, Vance gets the mission done with the help of every single team member on the base.

Col. Jay Johnson, the 71st Flying Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Kristy Earls, the 71st FTW command chief, count on that team work to carry out their vision to “Empower the future of the Air Force through innovation and inclusion.”

“We have a really high operations tempo here and we ask a lot of our team members, including very young Airmen,” said Johnson. “We are often showing new Airmen what the Air Force looks like for the first time in their lives. We show them what right looks like.”

Johnson and Earls emphasize the keys to carrying out their mission and vision are the four priorities they’ve laid out, or as they’ve been coined, the 4-D’s.

“Our top four priorities that every single Airmen contributes to are Deliver world-class pilots, Develop resilient Airmen and families, Deploy ready Airmen and Demonstrate our culture,” said Earls.

Across the base, every member helps to Deliver a brand new class of winged aviators every three weeks. The 71st Medical Group ensures that the pilots are safe to fly, the 71st Security Forces Squadron keeps any foreign or local threats from interfering with the flying schedule and the Finance team is the first stop for every Airmen that checks in to the base.

Every single person on the base comes in each day to help Deliver world-class pilots to the Air Force.

“Developing resilient Airmen and families is accomplished through two lines of effort - connection and education,” said Earls.

Even though the mission of Vance is about pilots, Johnson and Earls emphasize the importance to newcomers that self-development is a never-ending process that is expected at Vance.

“If an Airman leaves here with the thought in mind that all we do is produce pilots, then we have failed,” said Col. Charles Schuck, the 71st FTW vice commander. “We ask them to join a variety of networking groups, participate in classes to develop as leaders, attend squadron outings and much more in order to grow as whole Airmen.”

The third priority of Vance is to Deploy ready Airmen. Each year over 100 Airmen deploy, leaving their families and work centers a person short. 

“Our priority is to ensure that Airmen are fully ready to deploy, and that we continue to support their families while the Airmen are away,” said Earls.

Finally, after all of this is done, Earls and Johnson emphasize the need to Demonstrate our Culture.

From assignment nights where students find out which jet they’re going on to fly, to the Air Force Birthday Ball, there are so many military traditions that Vance proudly partakes in to Demonstrate the Vance and Air Force culture to all members.

“It’s important to put in the hard work, but also to celebrate our success,” said Johnson. “Everyone here at Vance is held to an incredibly high standard, so when we get to show off our Vance Pride, we do.”