HomeNews

News Search

Civic leader tour takes flight

Thirty civic leaders and military members prepare to board a KC-135 Stratotanker for the 2011 Civic Leader Tour April 19, 2011, McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The overnight tour included stops at Scott AFB, Ill., and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Community leaders witnessed a refueling mission and participated in a tour of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center,  where Airman are trained for upcoming deployments. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Schocker)

Thirty civic leaders and military members prepare to board a KC-135 Stratotanker for a 2011 civic leader tour on April 19, 2011, from McConnell Air Force Base, Kan. The overnight tour included stops at Scott AFB, Ill., and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. Community leaders witnessed a refueling mission and participated in a tour of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, where Airman are trained for upcoming deployments. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Staff Sgt. Michael Schocker)

Members of McConnell's 2011 Civic Leader Tour are strapped into a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle roll-over simulator by Tech. Sgt. Norman Ramos,421st Combat Training Squadron instructor April 20, 2011, Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.  More than 20 civic leaders from Wichita, Kan., partipated in McConnell's first civic leader tour in more than five years.

Members of McConnell's 2011 Civic Leader Tour are strapped into a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle roll-over simulator by Tech. Sgt. Norman Ramos,421st Combat Training Squadron instructor, on April 20, 2011, at Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. More than 20 civic leaders from Wichita, Kan., partipated in McConnell's first civic leader tour in more than five years. (U.S. Air Force Photo)

Kansas civic leaders search through a container of protective equipment before riding a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle roll-over simulator April 20, 2011, Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. More than 20 civic leaders from Wichita, Kan., partipated in McConnell's first civic leader tour in more than five years.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Kansas civic leaders search through a container of protective equipment before riding a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle roll-over simulator on April 20, 2011, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. More than 20 civic leaders from Wichita, Kan., partipated in McConnell's first civic leader tour in more than five years. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Col. Jamie Crowhurst, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, "fires" at the Virtual Interactive Combat Environment Trainer April 20, 2011, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.  VICE is a system that provides a realistic set of battle-like exercises, and is used to train soldiers at the New Jersey Army National Guard Battle Lab.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Col. Jamie Crowhurst, 22nd Air Refueling Wing commander, "fires" at the Virtual Interactive Combat Environment, or VICE, trainer on April 20, 2011, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. VICE is a system that provides a realistic set of battle-like exercises, and is used to train soldiers at the New Jersey Army National Guard Battle Lab. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Kansas civic leaders Dr. Jeff Colyer, Lt. Governor, Kan., and Terry Nelson, First State Bank of Norton vice chairman and a fifth generation Kansas farmer "fire" at the Virtual Interactive Combat Environment Trainer April 20, 2011, Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. More than 20 civic leaders from Wichita, Kan., partipated in McConnell's first civic leader tour in more than five years.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Kansas civic leaders Dr. Jeff Colyer, Lt. Governor, Kan., and Terry Nelson, First State Bank of Norton vice chairman and a fifth generation Kansas farmer "fire" at the Virtual Interactive Combat Environment, or VICE, trainer April 20, 2011, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. More than 20 civic leaders from Wichita, Kan., partipated in McConnell's first civic leader tour in more than five years. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Kansas civic leaders tour the inside of a C-17 Globemaster April 20, 2011, Joint Base Mcguire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The C-17 is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein)

Kansas civic leaders tour the inside of a C-17 Globemaster on April 20, 2011, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. The C-17 is the newest, most flexible cargo aircraft to enter the airlift force. The C-17 is capable of rapid strategic delivery of troops and all types of cargo to main operating bases or directly to forward bases in the deployment area. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Senior Airman Abigail Klein

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Twenty-six Kansas civic leaders witnessed Air Mobility Command's mission firsthand when they recently toured its headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.

With the recent onset of tasking for Libya and AMC's continuing participation in today's fight, the tour gave the civic leaders a chance to learn about the relevancy and importance of the Air Force's role in combat. This was the first McConnell Civic Leader Tour conducted since 2004.

While on the two-day tour, which began April 19 with a KC-135 Stratotanker flight to Scott, the civic leaders were able to meet with Lt. Gen. Vern M. "Rusty" Findley II, AMC vice commander, and listen to briefings by U.S. Transportation Command and 18th Air Force Operations.

The briefings were revealing for the civic leaders, as some members have little or no military background.

"To actually see the [Air Force] in action was a real eye-opener," said Jason Opat, Integrated Media Group Chief Executive officer. "You don't realize just how interconnected military members have to be in order to get the job done."

After visiting Scott, the civic leaders were then flown to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The base was unique for the leaders as it is one of the few Air Force bases recently united with the Navy, Marines and Army, as a result of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure legislation.

While there, the leaders met newly "pinned" Brig. Gen. Gina Grasso, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and 87th Air Base Wing commander, visited the U. S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, the 621st Contingency Response Wing and the New Jersey Army National Guard Battle Lab.

The locations allowed the leaders to view and participate in the field training required of both Airmen and Soldiers before they deploy. This included rides in both a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle and Humvee roll-over simulator, as well as the chance to "fire" military weapons with the Virtual Interactive Combat Environment Trainer - a system that provides a realistic set of battle-like exercises.

The last stop of the tour included a viewing of rational "Airpower," a tour of both a C-17 Globemaster, a KC-10 Extender and a KC-135 in-flight refueling.

"Because I see lots of patients from McConnell, I wanted to learn more about what they do and get a greater appreciation for what they do for their country," said Justin Strickland, Derby, Kan., orthopedic surgeon. "This tour was very in depth and though I've always had a great appreciation for the military, the tour has exponentially increased my appreciations for them and what they do for our country."

The importance of having the civic leaders physically be a part of the AMC mission was the goal of the visit.

"We work for the tax payer and they have a right to know where their tax dollars are going," said General Grasso. "When the community that supports you doesn't know what you're doing, that's not good. "[As Airmen] we have to be good community partners by being part of the community, and you can only do that if you have a relationship, so they can understand what you are doing for your nation. The tours also show [servicemembers] that community members do care that they are serving."