Local civic leaders get glimpse of Total Force ops at Buckley AFB

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Frank Casciotta
  • 302nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

In its third Air Force Reserve Partners in Leadership program event, the 302nd Airlift Wing gave a first-hand look at the Air Force’s Total Force mission to community leaders during a visit at Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, July 20.

While at Buckley AFB, the civic leaders, representing large businesses, civic organizations, academic institutions and community organizations, toured the Air Reserve Personnel Center headquarters and the Colorado Air National Guard’s 140th Wing.

The Peterson-based Reserve wing Partners in Leadership program’s intent is to build on existing relations between the 302nd AW and local community leaders through an experiential education.

“This is the third event I’ve been able to attend,” said Beth Braaten, the campus vice president of community relations at Colorado Technical University and program participant. “The part I’ve been most impressed by is that, everywhere we’ve visited, everyone has spoken to their mission and knowledgeable about how it all fits together. It’s been really eye-opening.”

As part of the visit to Buckley AFB, the civic leaders took part in an orientation flight aboard a 302nd AW C-130 Hercules aircraft during a local proficiency training mission to gain a first-hand experience and better understanding on how the airlift mission is performed here by Reserve Citizen Airmen.

“I was very impressed by the professionalism displayed by these reservists,” said Braaten. “I’ve been on a C-130 before, just never while it was in the air. It was a great experience to see how the crew interacted and being able to ask them questions. Though, I tried to keep that to a minimum as they were very focused on the operation.”

During their time at the ARPC, participants learned about the Total Force Service Center’s administrative and personnel roles supporting nearly 1.3 million the members of the Air Reserve Component, which includes the Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and military retirees through a briefing and Q&A session provided by Col. Michael Burns, the ARPC director, before making their way to the 140th Wing’s flightline. There, they had an up-close look at an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft and were met by Col. Brian Turner, the 140th Wing commander, who explained the F-16’s capabilities and the Colorado Air National Guard wing’s mission.

“With each Partners in Leadership program experience we are introducing our local community leaders to the Reserve Citizen Airmen and the Total Force missions here in Colorado,” said Col. James DeVere, the 302nd AW commander who championed the program, which began last year. “It is important for our local leaders and employers to understand how the 302nd Airlift Wing’s Reserve Citizen Airmen who are also members of this community contribute to our nation’s defense and provide unique capabilities with the expertise and flexibility inherent in the Reserve program.”

The fourth, and final, 302nd AW Partners in Leadership program event for the year will take place at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where the participating community leaders will learn about the Air Force Reserve’s missions there.