HOMESTEAD AIR RESERVE BASE, Fla. --
Civic leaders from the South Florida area gained a deeper appreciation and understanding of the mission of the 482nd Fighter Wing, the “World’s Greatest Fighter Wing”, and the Air Force after a two-day civic leader tour to Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base- Fort Worth, Texas on May 31-June 1.
The event allowed the honorary commanders and key civic leaders to witness first hand, the profound impact that the 482nd FW has in the community and to see other Reserve and military partners working together as a whole.
The two-day event included a tour of NAS Joint Reserve Base- Fort Worth, Texas and its tenant units; a visit with leaders from Tenth Air Force, a Texas Air National Guard airlift wing mission briefing; a walkthrough of the 301st Fighter Wing’s Centralized Intermediate Repair Facility, and a Marine F/A-18 aircraft static display.
A special tour of the Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Plant was the highlight of day two. The civic leaders were allowed to see the production line of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and to fly the F-35 simulator.
Shortly after takeoff en route to Texas, the civic leaders witnessed 10 F-16 fighter aircraft from the 482nd FW being air refueled.
During the tour, the guests quickly grasped the tremendous relationships and partnerships being made on the trip.
Frank Balzebre, liaison to the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos A. Gimenez , said civic leader tours are essential to community engagement.
“They strengthen the bond of communication, problem solving and solutions to the challenges we face as a community. Building trust in each other when were at the table of discussion is strengthened on trips like this”, Balzebre said.
The leaders were welcomed by Major General Ronald B. “Bruce” Miller, Commander, 10th Air Force. General Miller stressed the importance of civic leader tours and how they benefit the Air Force and civilian communities alike.
“It’s a great opportunity for the civic leader to go to another base and see how their local organization fits into the greater picture of the Air Force Reserve and learn about other missions that exist and how they can better serve Airmen from their home communities”, Miller said.
Jonathan Borgert, South Dade Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Committee Advocacy Chairman, gained a different perspective and deeper appreciation of the 301st and 482nd Fighter Wing’s missions.
“It was great to see another base and how they operate and to see how the Air Force does business, day in and day out, and the visit to Lockheed was invaluable to me in advocating for a future F-35 mission at Homestead”, Borgert said.
As the civic leaders arrived back at Homestead ARB, they were presented with group photos and certificates of appreciation from base leadership.
“It’s been a great opportunity to build relationships between Homestead and our sister unit, the 301st Fighter Wing at old Carswell Field. The other impact is great relationship building with our civic leaders and the Fort Worth civic leaders”, said Col. David P. Garfield, 482nd Fighter Wing commander. “It also allowed our leaders to broaden their perspectives of the mission and what our Airmen endure doing the mission”.