Middle Georgia civic leaders tour Florida bases

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
Chuck Shaheen has been a staunch supporter of Robins Air Force Base since his family moved to Warner Robins in 1964, but even he can still be impressed by the work of Airmen.

Mr. Shaheen, who serves as one of Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander's honorary commanders, was one of 25 civic leaders in Middle Georgia who went on a tour of Tyndall AFB and Hurlburt Field on March 3-4. The purpose of the trip was to give area civic leaders a chance to see what goes on at other bases.

"The two things I picked up," said Mr. Shaheen, "is that the Air Force is always trying to do things better, and they are trying to do them more cost effectively."

Also in the group was General Peyer; Col. Warren Berry, 78th Air Base Wing commander; Maj. Gen. Allan Poulin, Air Force Reserve Command vice commander; and Brig. Gen. Tom Moore, 116th Air Control Wing commander.

They departed Robins March 3 on a WC-130, which is a C-130 modified for weather reconnaissance and was provided by the 403rd Wing, 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, Keesler Air Force Base, Miss. They flew to Tyndall AFB, Fla., where they saw an F-22 fighter and the 325th Air Control Squadron's Air Battle Manager School that trains officers for the 116th Air Control Wing at Robins. They also had a mission briefing on the 325th Fighter Wing, and toured the 601st Air & Space Operations Center (Northcom) along with the 53rd Weapons Evaluations Group.

After an overnight stay, they flew to Hurlburt Field Fla. At Hurlburt they saw the 1st Special Operations Wing, which is a special tactics unit. They were shown a memorial to members who had died in action since the Sept. 11 attack.

Ed Rodriquez, president of the Warner Robins Area Chamber of Commerce, went on the trip and said he found it to be a worthwhile experience. He said he was especially interested to see such operations as the unit that trains JSTARS officers at Robins. He also said it was "extremely thrilling" to see the F-22.

"What stood out the most to me was the ability to see how our base fits in with other facilities," he said. "They are doing things that work in conjunction with the base here. Overall, to me, the biggest benefit was being able to see the big picture of where we fit in."