By Senior Airman Alexa Culbert, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published March 02, 2018
Lt. Gen. Jacqueline D. Van Ovost, Air Force Director of Staff, takes a moment away from CORONA South to recognize top performers, Feb. 28, 2018, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. (U.S. Air Force photo by Donna L. Burnett)
Lt. Gen. Steven Kwast, Air Education and Training Command commander (right), and Tuskegee Airman retired Lt. Col. James Harvey greet Chief Master Sgt. Erica Shipp, 42nd Air Base Wing command chief and Virginia Whitfield of Whitfield Consulting during a reception at the Alabama Supreme Court, Feb. 26, 2018, Montgomery, Alabama. Other distinguished visitors of the event included Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson, Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Lyn Stuart and Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange.USAF Photograph by Donna L. Burnett)
The Air Force’s top leaders convened here for the annual CORONA South conference, Feb. 25 through Feb. 28, to discuss present and future issues regarding the Air Force.
“This year’s CORONA was extremely successful and historic as it coincides with Maxwell’s Centennial anniversary.” said Col. Melissa Stone, 42d Air Base Wing vice commander. “We are proud to bring CORONA back to Maxwell and know that the success achieved here will pay great dividends for the entire Air Force in the coming years,”
Attendees of the conference included Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson.
Throughout the week, leaders engaged in high-level discussions about the Air Force and national strategy, joint leader and force development and education and training.
Key attendees met with AU’s Board of Visitors to discuss the overall direction of the university’s education and training programs and how they support Air Force strategy.
Leaders also took time to interact with local civic leaders by participating in a Montgomery Chamber of Commerce hosted event at the Alabama Supreme Court. Leaders received a warm Southern welcome, and were able to provide local leaders a broad perspective on the Air Force mission.
For the first time in CORONA history, attendees participated in a table-top exercise utilizing the unique capabilities of the LeMay Center’s Wargaming Institute to address global, strategic challenges.
“For a full day, critical issues were dissected and explored using state-of-the-art technology combined with the organization’s internally developed visualization software which pioneered a new 3D capability for this event,” said Col. Joseph Michalek, LeMay Center Wargaming Institute director. “This was the third consecutive CORONA conference that involved the Wagaming Institute in some capacity.”
“General Goldfein, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, offered tall praise for what proved to be a highly successful CORONA table-top exercise,” said Michalek. “With such high accolades, the Wargaming Institute's growth in operations is likely to continue.”
CORONA conferences are held three times a year and are often the only time that all of the Air Force’s leaders meet in person and have open discussions concerning the Air Force and national defense.
The first recorded CORONA meeting took place here in 1944. The Army Air Forces commander, Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold, invited 40 generals to Maxwell AFB to discuss how the service was to move forward post WWII.
In 2006, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Mosley decided to bring CORONA back to Maxwell. The theme of the conference that year was, “Heritage to Horizons,” and Mosley said he wanted to continue the heritage theme by bringing CORONA back to its roots.
Twelve years later, CORONA has returned to its birth place once again.