PEASE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, N.H. -- Lt. Col. Bradley R. Stevens
, who took over as 64th Air Refueling Squadron commander June 8, is excited to continue developing the active duty squadron assigned here as part of the Air Force's Total Force initiative, known also as TFI.
The goal of TFI is to combine the strengths of both the active duty and reserve components.
"I'm eager to continue the relationships and partnerships with the members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing," said Stevens during a July 24 interview in his office. "I see the tremendous teamwork we have here, and I'm grateful to be a small part of that."
I've been active duty in the Air Force since graduating from the Air Force Academy in 1998," said the first-time squadron commander during a July 24 interview in his office.
When first notified of an assignment, Stevens thought he was headed back to McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. a place he had served earlier in his career.
"The initial phone call said I was going to McConnell," he said. "After digging a little deeper, I realize I'm going to Pease ... I thought, 'I didn't know we were putting active duty guys there,' it took a little education on my part to realize we had an active associate unit there."
Stevens had been removed from the tanker community for a few years while serving in a myriad of staff positions, Stevens was excited to return.
"The location of Pease, as far as the intrinsic value of the location of the base, it speaks to itself," he said. "Right at jumping off point to head east, the tactical value of this location is just impressive, it's always been impressive. It is one of the reasons the base has remained viable."
He highlighted that bases in the Midwest just don't have the same capabilities.
"The active associate brings a whole new depth here, because what the active duty needs is access to two things: the experience, because the active duty keeps getting younger; and access to the iron [aircraft], that's a big player as well."
So the experience of the members here on Pease to help guide and develop active duty Airmen -- to help create those professional airmen -- is incredibly important, he added.
"Bottom line: The active associate here increases the overall capability of the United State Air Force," said Stevens.
The new commander went on to highlight the great relationships that exist with the 157th Air Refueling Wing leadership team.
"By having such a great relationship with Col. Hutchinson [157 ARW commander] to ensure that those resources can be tapped into on an active duty cycle, on an active duty mission is critical to our success," he said.
Active associate units have had varying success throughout the Air Force and the relationships that exist here is something Stevens attributes to past successes.
"I attribute it to the culture, the mission-focused culture of the New Hampshire Air National Guard ... wanting to get the mission done ... wanting to ensure that it is supported in any way, that culture is very similar to that of the active duty culture," he said.
He looks forward to continue working with and leading the members of the 157 ARW and 64 ARS.
"I've been here since October 2013, eight months before taking command, I am familiar with how many really good people we have here and how much they care about what they do," Stevens said.
During his first commander's call, Stevens challenged members to identify their loyalties.
"To me loyalty is incredibly important," he said. "Loyalty is the cornerstone, not necessarily loyalty to each other, it creating your own sense of loyalty. Mine focuses around my loyalty to my God, country and family and loyalty to the members of the United States Air Force and the devotion to service in which that entails."
While speaking about his goals for the 64th Air Refueling Squadron, Stevens highlighted his desire to focus on the relationships that have been developed here as well as the KC-46A decision expected this summer, developing of Airmen and more.
"I wish I had a measure of merit for each one those, but really it's just a gut check, and that gut check is talking to the senior NCOs, the Airmen, the captains and getting a feeling of how they would rate the performance, that to me is more important than any measure of merit I can put on it."
During his free time, he and his wife, Diana, and son, look forward to getting better acquainted with the local area.
During the change of command ceremony in June, Stevens spoke about the opportunity that lay ahead.
"We at the active duty Air Force hear a lot about the Air National Guard as a family," he said. "I truly feel like you've accepted us into your family, and we as the Active Duty component of the United States Air Force are better for it."