Civic leaders see Air Force in action

Vance Air Force Base, Okla. -- Team Vance -- what a trip it was!!
Through the efforts of Capt Heather Kekic, Bob Farrell and the entire public affairs team, Command Chief Jeff Kallas and I hosted 30 community leaders to take a whirlwind two-day trip to "see our U.S. Air Force in action!" The trip began 6 a.m. Sept. 9 when we met at the Vance Club to collect luggage, hop on the bus and drive the short distance to the flight line to board a waiting KC-135 from our sister Air Education and Training Command base, Altus Air Force Base.
Some of our civic leaders had never flown a military aircraft before and most hadn't even ventured outside Oklahoma, so the "buzz" in the air was intense.
With the bags packed and doors closed, we strapped in for takeoff and arrived at our first destination, Moody AFB in southern Georgia. Greeted by the wing commander, we were treated to a flight demonstration of our soon-to-be new aircraft, the T-6A Texan, with its state-of-the-art cockpit, clean lines and oh yeah, quiet propeller. It was a pleasure to see some young Air Force instructor pilot take the T-6 through its paces. Tours and briefings, followed by a lavish dinner hosted by Team Moody personnel, really gave our civic leaders a taste of what other communities are doing to support their bases.
After very little "shut-eye," we gathered again in the early morning Sept. 10 to load bags, close the KC-135 doors and jet off to our next destination, Little Rock AFB, Ark. -- home of the mighty C-130!! Met by their wing commander, we were immediately put through the mobility line and deployed for local combat training at Camp Warlord where we were fed from a field kitchen, taught how to shoot the M-16, put on chemical warfare gear and shown how to put up a combat tent (yes, it's big!) Off to the flight line, we went to see the "older C-130 E-model" followed by the new (it even smelled new) C-130J with glass cockpit, streamlined cargo compartment and some very motivated instructor pilots.
Back aboard the KC-135 we went, and shortly after takeoff, our civic leaders witnessed an air-to-air refueling of a C-17 at 24,000 feet and they loved it! Landing back at Vance AFB that afternoon, our 30 community leaders were all smiling and eager to tell their family and friends the utterly awesome time they had "seeing our U.S. Air Force in action!"
Community support to our mission at Vance AFB is critical, and these tours allow us to showcase our Air Force and the many wonderful things we're doing to defend our nation. Please be extremely proud of your contributions to our Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps for you all are volunteering to defend our nation from terrorism, and now Enid, Stillwater and Oklahoma City's civic leaders know that too! Please take care of your wingman, be safe and enjoy your weekend!