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AMC civic leaders STEAM into MacDill

  • Published
  • By Sean Clements, Air Mobility Command Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — Air Mobility Command hosted more than 30 members of its Civic Leader Program during a visit here April 11 to 13.  

The visit focused on the impact of the mobility enterprise mission and promoting the goals of the ongoing Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math initiative spearheaded by Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II, AMC commander, and his staff.

 “The mobility enterprise is critical to ensuring America’s lethality,” said Everhart. “Family and military readiness requires strong connections and interaction with the communities we live in and serve. It is important to ensure the public understands the value and impact of our Airmen and missions to national defense.”

The AMC Civic Leader Program allows a diverse group of highly-motivated individuals who are leaders in industry and academia to gather for the purpose of enhancing insight into mobility missions and cultivating partnerships in communities near and surrounding Air Force installations.

“Our civic leaders are critical to what we do,” said Maj. Gen. Sam Barrett, AMC Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration. “They walk away with a much richer and deeper understanding of our mission set and the complexity of what we do. Most importantly, they walk away knowing that we have quality Airmen that are motivated and that their support is critical.”

Members of the program traveled from around the nation to learn about Air Mobility Command’s level of activity and impact. The civic leaders gained enhanced insight into the mission and operations of the 6th Air Mobility Wing at MacDill, its co-located mission partners, and how the mobility enterprise supports a global area of responsibility.

The 6th AMW supports the U.S. Air Force and critical joint partners, such as U.S. Central Command, delivering critical refueling capabilities through its fleet of KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft. The wing’s Airmen have also been leading in an effort to develop key relationships with industry partners and educational institutions to enhance family readiness and better prepare for future challenges in STEAM-related fields.

“It’s an honor to host such a remarkable group of civic leaders,” said Col. April Vogel, commander of the 6th AMW. “It’s so important that we introduce the public to the incredible mission our Airmen execute and encourage them to take part in promoting our communities. By cultivating a collaborative environment both on-base and outside it, our civic leaders have a direct impact on mission success.”

Throughout their visit, the civic leaders received demonstrations by the Joint Communications Support Element, U.S. Central Command, and saw first-hand what it takes to keep AMC’s decades-old aircraft flying while ensuring America’s lethality.

The 6th Maintenance Squadron allowed the visitors to get an up-close view during a periodic inspection and repair of a KC-135. Airmen of the 6th Fabrication Flight then demonstrated how they do their part to keep the nation’s 55-year-old KC-135 fleet functional through the custom parts manufacturing process.

The role tankers serve in enabling the joint fight and worldwide operations is essential to mission success. Tankers comprise more than 40 percent of the U.S. Air Force sorties flown since the outset of Operation Inherent Resolve and ensure the nation’s ability to reach any point on the globe quickly.  

“The ability to refuel our aircraft is critical to the nation,” said Barrett. “Our combatant commands rely on tankers to fuel the fight. The KC-135 enables lethality for America and is critical to our national defense.”

In addition to learning more about the importance of the tanker mission and what it takes to keep the aircraft flying, there was a focus on the continuing importance of inspiring future generations through STEAM initiatives and enhancing local area education.

The AMC civic leaders met a group of local students from the Hillsborough County School District. The students showed numerous STEAM projects they built, including a go-kart, homemade rockets, and even a functional hovercraft.

“The STEAM initiative is so fascinating and so timely because there is a lot of it happening in our communities already,” said Dana Lancellotti, an AMC civic leader from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey. “It ties right in to so many things that I feel we can connect. It is a perfect way to look at the future.”

The civics’ visit to MacDill also included executive sessions to discuss the way forward for nationwide outreach efforts and areas to partner. These sessions opened dialogue between the leaders in each community to develop plans addressing areas of need -- such as the importance of professional license reciprocity for military spouses, who are required to move with the service member, often at a cost to their ability to practice without undue delay and expense.

“This was an opportunity to engage together and hopefully build that bridge so that each knows the value we bring to one another,” said Cynthia Lloyd, an AMC civic leader from Scott AFB, Illinois. “You can realize that if you do it together, it can be more impactful. The more we come together, the more you can bring to the public at large.”

One unanimous outcome of the tour was that each civic agreed on the importance of promoting educational standards in their communities and across the nation. AMC, along with these motivated community leaders, is continuing to use the vast resources of the Mobility Air Forces to ensure the nation has a bright, successful future in STEAM-related fields.

“Bringing the Air Force into the school system and helping to combat the misperceptions of what the military is all about is something we do all the time,” said Lancellotti. “Young people can be so inspired by the military, and for me, Airmen are the perfect example for our youth.”