ACC Commander’s Group turns 30

  • Published
  • Air Combat Command Public Affairs

Air Combat Command is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. The command was created through the merger of Tactical Air Command and Strategic Air Command. 

Retired Gen. John M. Loh, ACC’s first commander, recognized it would take a monumental change in culture to get this new command off the ground. He envisioned a group of active civic leaders -- the ACC Commander’s Airpower Advisory Group -- to support the command’s many bases and missions with this endeavor. 

“The fact that airpower was part of the name was important; it was a signal that this group would be mission-focused,” Loh said. “We arranged for these members to be part of the command’s training exercises and the launch of new technologies, like the B-2 Spirit Bomber, because we wanted them to understand what was important to the command and the work our Airmen were putting in.” 

Early members of the group were instrumental in navigating issues like Base Realignment and Closure and defining ACC’s new identity. 

“The group was full of wonderfully dedicated people. Not only did they exceed my expectations in every way, the group became a model for other major commands,” Loh said. “Commanders would call me to ask how they could get something similar started for their units.”

That same group, now known as the ACC Commander’s Group, continues its advocacy role for the command today. Each installation has a primary and alternate member who attends semiannual meetings to learn about ACC’s mission, priorities and challenges. These meetings, along with regular updates from the command, help reduce the knowledge gap between the Air Force and local communities.  

Many CG members also support their local installations through community service projects for Airmen and their families.

John Hansen is an original member of the CG and an Army veteran. As the president of the Offutt Advisory Council at Offutt AFB, Nebraska, he oversees a variety of annual efforts to assist the base, including non-ACC units. The advisory group’s signature picnic event, the Wild Blue Yonder, raised $40,000 to help families with deployed service members in 2021. 

“What I have enjoyed the most about being part of the CG over the years has been the relationships I established with the other members and the various military leaders – it’s great to bring passionate people together to support the command and to learn from each other,” said Hansen. 

He said, creating a strong bond between the community and the service members has always been his highest priority. He’s emphasized a “one family” model out at Offutt.

An honest, supportive network of relationships between ACC and communities across the nation remains a cornerstone of the command more than 30 years after the CG was conceived. 

“The support our Airmen and their families receive from their local communities has been vital to creating a resilient and ready force,” said Gen. Mark Kelly, current ACC commander. “Now more than ever, we need a unity of effort as we tackle the challenging issues of today and prepare our force for the future.”