Finish where it starts: Mile High wing wraps up Partners in Leadership program at USAFA

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

The 302nd Airlift Wing’s 2018 community engagement program, Partners in Leadership, ended the year where many Air Force careers begin – the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado, Sept. 28.


For program participants, the day started with the U.S. Air Force Academy mission brief and a discussion about Air Force Reserve contributions to the USAFA mission with Lt Col. Lisa Neener, the cadet wing chief of inspections who is an Air Force reservist serving at USAFA. Then, after a walk across the centerpiece of the cadet area, the Terazzo, they met the cadets who joined the group for lunch inside Mitchell Hall, the dining facility at USAFA. Over lunch, the civic leaders learned about the cadet lifestyle before heading to the airfield, which is home to the Reserve-led 70th Flying Training Squadron. There, Air Force Reservists serve as instructors in the 70th FTS and are part of the USAFA airmanship programs that include soaring, parachuting and powered flight.


The wing’s Partners in Leadership program’s goal is to tell the Reserve Citizen Airman story by educating community leaders throughout the Pike’s Peak region by providing opportunities  to see first-hand how the active duty and Reserve components of the Air Force integrate to achieve a variety of missions.


“Before I became part of the program, I didn’t understand or appreciate the role of the Air Force Reserve,” said William Nelson, a program participant and partner at a local law firm. “Through this program I’ve had the opportunity to meet many outstanding people. Every Reserve member I met was passionate about what he or she does.”


Throughout 2018, program participants also visited the Air Reserve Personnel Center headquarters, Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado, the 302nd Airlift Wing, and the 310th Space Wing at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, for a glimpse at the wide array of mission sets Reserve Citizen Airmen support daily.


The civic leaders who participated in the program this year were representatives from large and small businesses, civic organizations, academic institutions and community organizations.


“Each of the program’s events have been very different,” said Nelson, who has attended each of the four events throughout 2018. “(The program) showed me the many missions and roles that the Reserve fulfills in making the Air Force work. It’s been a wonderful learning experience and now I feel able to speak to people in my broader community about the importance of what the reservists do.”