Orientation ride turns into local exchange

  • Published
  • By 71st Flying Training Wing
  • Public Affairs
Second Lieutenant Agneta Murnan, 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs chief, received orientation rides in a John Deere 9120 tractor, a 9770 John Deere combine and a semi-truck delivering freshly harvested wheat to the grain elevator in Carrier, Okla. as part of an impromptu base-community exchange.

Wheat farmer and Carrier mayor Kim Ford received a T-38 Talon orientation ride May 30 at Vance Air Force Base to gain a firsthand understanding of the mission sorties that consistently zoom overhead at Carrier.

The town of Carrier is used by T-38 student and instructor pilots as a ground reference point. A location one mile north of Carrier is a Radar Entry Point to Vance T-38 patterns, and a point one mile south of Carrier is a Visual Flight Rule entry point for the T-38s.

Mayor of Carrier Kim Ford owns and rents acreage directly under the flight paths of T-38 Talon aircraft, but harvested his "best crop yet" in terms of yield just an hour before heavy rains interrupted many local wheat harvesting operations.

"We were so fortunate to finish harvest when we did," said George Ann Ford, whose accompanied both exchanges.
A team of harvesters from Minnesota tend to Mayor Ford's crops before working north each year. This ensures that crops are harvested as they mature in different regions.

"So much work goes into getting the food from the ground to the hoppers to the elevator to eventual consumers. Not unlike training aircraft, the machinery involved is very high-tech. The combines not only process the grain from the ground to its usable form in less than a second, there are all sorts of digital controls to ensure the combine is not moving too fast or too slow, too high or too low. What's even more amazing are the people like the Fords and the harvest team who make the harvest mission happen."

Not only was the successful harvest a great capstone to the exchange, so was the following team dinner, prepared by Mrs. Ford.