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AATTC hosts 28th annual Tactics Symposium

Advanced Airlift Tactics Training school shield.

Advanced Airlift Tactics Training school shield.

2/8/2009 -- Aircrew, Intelligence personnel, contractors and VIPs from across the nation - and from eight other Allied countries - gathered at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base from Jan. 12-15 for the 28th annual Tactics-Intel Symposium.

The Symposium was hosted by the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center and the 139th Airlift Wing. Included in the assembly were U.S. Air Force personnel from across the spectrum with numerous general officers, representatives from about 30 defense contractors and aircrews and intelligence personnel from the countries of Canada, Italy, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Total Force Integration was a main topic at the Symposium, attended by more than 300 people.

"We have realized the TFI," said AATTC commander Col. Mike McEnulty. "On 1 January, we stood up (Air Mobility Command) Detachment B, and that completed the TFI."

The TFI initiative at the AATTC will eventually put 18 active-duty AMC personnel full-time at the AATTC. The move was initially announced at the 2008 Symposium.

McEnulty stressed that the Symposium is just another way to further tie the operations and intelligence worlds together.

One intelligence led briefing focused on cyberspace attacks and how will military units operate in a "day without space."

"That was a real eye-opener for all of us," McEnulty said.

But the Symposium wouldn't be complete with briefings alone. The first two nights saw more than 30 contractors display their warfighting technology to attendees, and the third and final night of activities included the annual banquet.

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Stanley F.H. Newman was the banquet's keynote speaker. Newman was a long-time Air Force pilot who was nicknamed "Godfather of the AATTC" for supporting its creation to a skeptical active-duty leadership.

"I just ran some interference," said the 86-year old World War II veteran of his role. "Those original few guys here (at Rosecrans) were the ones who really sold it.

"You are all standing on their shoulders today."

He challenged the aircrew and intelligence leaders in the room to remain vigilant.

"It's a given since 1943 that (the Allies) have air superiority," he said. "But will we?

"Our potential adversaries are working on some pretty impressive stuff. I challenge you ... to always be proactive and think ahead."

Newman has been to St. Joseph many times through the years, but not for some 20 years.

Earlier in the week, Missouri Rep. Sam Graves addressed the assembly. The Republican expressed concern about the military and future funding.

"We're in an uncertain time of national defense and national security," he said. "We are using up the useful life of our aircraft very, very quickly."

He pledged to fight to keep military priorities in the forefront.

"(Military spending is) the reason we've kept this country safe since over the past several years. People lose sight of that."

McEnulty extended his thanks to all on base who helped make the Symposium a success yet again, and also wanted to pass a special thanks to retired generals James Baginski and Rob Patterson who attended.

"Their busts are on the (Air Mobility Command) Walk of Fame," he said. "They are truly some of the Founding Fathers of mobility tactics and it was truly an honor to have them here."