NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --
Some of Arizona’s prominent civic and business leaders joined the 944th Fighter Wing for the 2018 Civic Leader tour, Sept. 25 – 26 helping them gain new insight into the Air Force mission.
Thirty 944th FW honorary commanders and local civic leaders, led by Col. Robert Tofil, 944th FW vice commander, were flown on a 445th Airlift Wing C-17 Globemaster III from Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, to Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The tour was an opportunity for the civic leaders to experience life as an Airman and talk with key leaders for a better understanding of how the Air Force gets things done.
“It’ll get the job done,” said Tech. Sgt. Timothy Chase, 823rd Maintenance Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter expediter, in response to a question from a civic leader on how a helicopter he [Chase] maintains was still flying beyond its expectancy.
John Moore, 944th Operations Group honorary commander and Wendy’s chief financial officer, asked Chase the question and was impressed with his “make it happen” attitude and response.
“That’s something I think everyone needs to hear,” said Moore. “We all have our circumstances, I have grills, fryers, and building issues. All of us are working toward something better but I like it when I hear from my people, ‘we are getting it done.’”
During the tour, the group of civic leaders were given an opportunity to climb in a Pave Hawk helicopter and handle the weapons attached to it. They also visited the over 110,000 square foot, newly renovated Warrior Fitness Center, which included basketball courts, an indoor running track, and pool. They received mission briefs from the 99th Air Base Wing, 57th Wing, 926th Wing, and were given a tour of the Thunderbirds museum and hangar. Finally, the group visited the 6th Combat Training Squadron, where they experienced the joint terminal attack controller training simulator.
This marks the 944th FW’s third civic leader tour in four years and based off the feedback from the participants they have stayed consistent with another successful civic leader tour.
“I thought the tour was fantastic,” said Andy Polito, Retailer Web Services director of sales and 69th Fighter Squadron honorary commander. “Flying on the C-17 was an amazing experience and I also enjoyed learning more about the Air Force and the various tasks that are performed by our troops.”
Polito’s sentiments were shared by others on the trip.
“As an honorary commander, I feel privileged to share experiences like this with my community and our local civic leaders in Arizona,” said Terri Frankel, former ‘Doublemint Twin’ and current 944th Medical Squadron honorary commander. “Between Luke and Nellis AFB and bases around the world, I sleep well at night knowing our brave Airmen are ‘at the ready’ to defend our country.”
Upon completion of the tour, Tofil commented on the success of the trip and his appreciation for all the civic leaders and honorary commanders involved.
"We are truly grateful to our hosts at Nellis AFB from the 99th ABW to the 57th and 926th Wings,” he said. “This was a great experience for everyone involved. We can't thank our civic leaders and honorary commanders enough for taking the time out of their busy schedules to join us on this trip. I hope they learned a little more about the Air Force and our Reserve Citizen Airmen and how important our missions are in today's environment."
The Civic Leader Tour is part of the 944th FW honorary commanders program and is a community outreach program designed to enhance relationships between local civic leaders and 944th FW personnel, promoting a better understanding of the Air Force Reserve Command and the wing mission. This provides the 944th FW and AFRC a unique platform to spread the word about their intentions and contributions in the defense of this country.