Healy hits the ground running as new Reserve commander

  • Published
  • By Bo Joyner

August 3 was a very busy Wednesday for Lt. Gen. John Healy.

First on the agenda was his promotion ceremony to his current rank. Immediately following that was a change of command ceremony where he officially became the new chief of the Air Force Reserve and commander of Air Force Reserve Command. From there, the Air Force’s newest three-star general attended the retirement ceremony for his former boss and friend, Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee. After a swift break for lunch, Healy gathered all of his senior leaders and wing commanders together for a quick down-and-dirty on what to expect over the next few years at AFRC.

It was a fast and furious start to Healy’s tenure at the helm of the Air Force Reserve, but it’s a pace Reserve Citizen Airmen will have to get used to.

“I’ve always got that sense of urgency,” Healy said to members of the media following the change of command ceremony at the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. “I’m eager to take those first steps to continue to move us forward.”

Healy said that like past AFRC commanders, his vision for the future falls in line with the chief of staff of the Air Force. In this case, Healy’s strategic vision is in lock step with “Accelerate change or lose” — Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr.’s supplication to create a more capable and flexible force or risk falling behind U.S. competitors. Healy said his strategic priorities align directly with Brown’s.

“My priorities and goals are going to be pretty straightforward — ready now, transforming for the future,” the new AFRC commander said. Healy said his strategic priorities are very similar to the three that guided Scobee’s tenure at AFRC: prioritize strategic depth and accelerate readiness, develop resilient leaders, and reform the organization.

“Readiness is definitely going to continue to be a priority as we move forward. I want readiness now,” he said. “I want to make sure that our Airmen are taken care of so they are always poised to be as effective as they can. Resiliency is a part of that readiness. It’s a critical enabler to making sure everyone is always ready. Also, we’ve seen some great movement in transforming our organization — data reform, process reform, systems reform — to ensure all of our Airmen have the training requirements they need and the building blocks they need to be as effective as possible for our nation. I want to ensure we are continuing down that path of reforming for the future.”

In a task order he sent out to all Reserve Citizen Airmen days after taking command, Healy said AFRC “will have to navigate unprecedented turbulence in upcoming fiscal years — resulting in little or no growth in top-line budget authority, continuing resolutions, rebalancing RPA and O&M funds to enable needed training, and re-missioning of some of our units. While these are all significant factors of our environment, we still expect leaders at every level to build readiness while maintaining unwavering support of our individual Airmen.”

The general went on to say that AFRC “must focus on building readiness and resiliency to support war fighting against a near-peer adversary while expeditiously reforming our organization. My intent is to prioritize every dollar spent and allow maximum flexibility for commanders to lead.”

Healy brings a wealth of experience to the dual-hatted role of Air Force Reserve chief and AFRC commander.

 He entered the Air Force in 1989, receiving his commission from the Air Force ROTC program at the University of Connecticut. He has not only commanded at the squadron, group, wing and numbered Air Force levels, but has served in a variety of high-level positions—with the most recent being deputy to the chief of Air Force Reserve at the Pentagon. The general is a command pilot with more than 5,000 military hours and 402 combat hours in the T-37, T-38, C-141B, C-17A and C-5A/B. Healy has also flown for the civilian airline industry, logging flight time on the Boeing 737 and the Airbus 320.

Brown, who presided over Healy’s promotion ceremony and the change of command ceremony, said he’s eager to see where the Air Force Reserve goes under Healy’s guidance.

“John, in every role, you’ve led our Air Force and Airmen to remarkable success,” Brown said. “I’m excited for you to have this opportunity to pour your immense talent and dedication to leading the professionals of the Air Force Reserve Command. I look forward to watching the Air Force Reserve Command continue to grow and thrive under your steady hand.”

Healy said he was thankful for Scobee’s leadership and mentorship over the past few years and is eager to try and fill the big shoes that his former boss left.

“The things that he and his wife have done to make sure our Airmen are as effective and as capable as possible is amazing, and it’s going to be a tremendous challenge to fill those shoes,” he said. “General Scobee left the Air Force Reserve in a great place and I’m so excited about what we have to offer the active component in defense of this nation. And, I’m looking forward to getting to work to continue to move us forward.”