Talk mission, not BRAC, to community

  • Published
  • By Col Mike Callan
  • 71st Flying Training Wing
Team Vance -- what a very exciting time to be stationed at Vance Air Force Base, Okla!
Let me begin by congratulating Class 04-05 on their successful completion of a very demanding Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training syllabus and their graduation today.
On behalf of Team Vance, I wish the entire class all the best as you embark upon your expeditionary future in the United States military.
Next, my hats off to everyone, especially Maj Robin Hill and his logistics readiness squadron staff, for the outstanding support to last Saturday's "Tops in Blue" presentation at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center. We packed the house and it was well worth it - the Broadway show with professional dance and music selections was amazing and proudly showed our US Air Force flag to the entire Enid community.
The Base Realignment and Closure subject is in the news again. As many of you know, the next round of base closures is set for 2005. BRAC is the process the Department of Defense uses to reorganize its base structure to more efficiently and effectively support its forces, increase operational readiness and help create new ways of doing business. The subject of BRAC is a contentious and controversial one. It is of intense interest to local communities and stakeholders because of the impact a base closing would have. I want everyone to understand this topic will be with us for the next two years and understand if approached, how to respond. Basically, the decision to close bases is made at a much higher level than the wing and the Secretary of Defense will recommend those military installations to be closed to the president in May 2005. Our position as Vance AFB personnel must be one of neutrality. We can discuss our mission and give specific details on the installation but we cannot speculate on the base's future or compare Vance AFB to other installations. To do so would be creating the perception of influencing the BRAC process. And our Chief of Staff, Gen John Jumper, has said it would be entirely inappropriate for any Air Force member to participate in organized or political events that could be perceived as BRAC proofing or sustaining the future viability of the installation.
Lets just stick to the facts when we're asked about Vance AFB from our concerned community. Tell everyone and anyone about our mission of Expeditionary Air Warriors Training Tomorrow's Leaders and how we do that mission better than anyone.
On another note, don't forget the Straight Scoop action line is your way to voice concerns or offer suggestions to me on how to improve Vance AFB. The number is
Finally, our Vice Wing Commander, Col Johnson, lost his father last week and he appropriately is now with his family. Our deepest condolences go out to his family!
Continue to think safety -- you're all doing a great job for our nation!