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SecAF visits Holloman AFB during COVID-19

SECAF visits Holloman Air Force Base during COVID-19

First Lt. Hannah Myers, 586th Flight Test Squadron flight test engineer, gives Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett a close look at a T-38A Talon during her visit, May 20, 2020, to Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Barrett visited facilities and interacted with Airmen who have been working diligently to adapt, innovate and still complete mission operations amid COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe)

SECAF visits Holloman Air Force Base during COVID-19

Lt. Col. Megan Pflug, 49th Force Support Squadron commander, and Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, discuss new sanitary procedures that have been implemented in the Shifting Sands dining facility, May 20, 2020, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Barrett visited facilities and interacted with Airmen who have been working diligently to adapt, innovate and still complete mission operations amid COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe)

SECAF visits Holloman Air Force Base during COVID-19

Staff Sgt. Thomas Lahut, 49th Maintenance Group weapons load crew chief, speaks with Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, May 20, 2020, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Barrett visited facilities and interacted with Airmen who have been working diligently to adapt, innovate and still complete mission operations amid COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe)

SECAF visits Holloman Air Force Base during COVID-19

Tech. Sgt. Nikita Williamson, 586th Flight Test Squadron Aviation Resource Management noncommissioned officer in charge is recognized by Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett, May 20, 2020, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Barrett visited facilities and interacted with Airmen who have been working diligently to adapt, innovate and still complete mission operations amid COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe)

SECAF visits Holloman Air Force Base during COVID-19

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett signs the 6th Attack Squadron distinguished visitor signatories placard, May 20, 2020, on Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. Barrett visited facilities and interacted with Airmen who have been working diligently to adapt, innovate and still complete mission operations amid COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Quion Lowe)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNS) --

Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett visited Holloman Air Force Base May 20.

Barrett interacted with Airmen who have been diligently adapting, innovating and maintaining mission operations amid COVID-19.

The pandemic tested Holloman AFB, the Air Force’s premier F-16 Fighting Falcon and MQ-9 Reaper training base, and its mission. Despite the challenges of COVID-19, the Airmen of the 49th Wing continue graduating operationally-ready F-16 and MQ-9 pilots and sensor operators, while adapting to the constantly changing landscape.

“Dedicated Airmen across Holloman Air Force Base demonstrated their ingenuity taking many proactive measures to maintain operational readiness amid COVID-19.” Barrett said. “Team Holloman should be proud they continue living up to their motto ‘build the backbone of combat airpower.’”

Training combat aircrew, while implementing and maintaining physical distancing, was a particular challenge that Holloman AFB Airmen faced. Barrett spoke with MQ-9 instructor pilots about how they have adapted their lesson plans to a virtual syllabus.

Barrett also toured the Air Force’s only Basic Expeditionary Airfield Response Base and the world-class testing facilities of the 704th Test Group.

“What an amazing opportunity to host our secretary of the Air Force and showcase both our people and the mission,” said Col. Joseph Campo, 49th Wing commander. “I am so proud of this team and what they have accomplished over the past couple months battling COVID-19 while continuing our critical mission for the nation. Our Air Force senior leaders have been incredibly supportive during this time and it is great for them to get a chance to see our people and get an up-close view of how we are handling this new challenge.”