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2014 Fly-Away Civic Leader Tour
Tracy Peacock (left), American Red Cross Mount Rainier Chapter executive, and Mayor Don Anderson (right), City of Lakewood, Wash., find out first-hand how fast personal floatation devices inflate March 28, 2014, at the aircrew flight equipment demonstration during the 2014 Fly-Away Civic Leader tour at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. This year’s tour stopped by the 62nd AFE shop to learn about parachutes, night vision goggles and water survival prior to heading to Travis Air Force Base, Calif. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Russ Jackson)
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McChord Civic Leaders visit Travis AFB

Posted 4/1/2014   Updated 4/2/2014 Email story   Print story


by Master Sgt. Todd Wivell
62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

4/1/2014 - JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. -- March 28 started as a normal day does for a flying wing with an aircrew brief given by a C-17 Globemaster III pilot, but instead of just briefing his crew, this time the aircraft commander had a special audience of 24 civic leaders from around the Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., area.

The civic leaders, some McChord honorary commanders, experienced first-hand what an aircrew does when they prepare for a mission, hearing everything from their planned route of travel to weather along the way.

This was just the start of the day for the civic leaders who were invited by Col. David Kumashiro, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, to the 2014 McChord Civic Leaders Fly-away tour to Travis Air Force Base, Calif.

The civic leaders met at 5:30 a.m. for a bus ride over to the crew brief, from there they went to breakfast at the Olympic Dining Facility where they experienced the food and facility Airmen use every day for their meals.

After their meals were over, they proceeded to the 62nd Operations Support Squadron Aircrew Flight Equipment section and participated in various demonstrations of life vest inflations, a raft inflation, night vision googles, and parachute packing.

From there they headed out to their aircraft, where they were met by the aircrew and welcomed onboard for a combat off-load demonstration and a two-hour flight to Travis AFB.

From the rainy, cold weather of McChord Field to the warm, sunny weather of Travis AFB the civic leaders were greeted by leadership from the 60th Air Mobility Wing, the 349th Air Mobility Wing and the 621st Contingency Response Wing.

After a wing mission brief, the civic leaders experienced a line of fire demonstration, a show of how quickly the 621st CRW can pack up and head out in a moment's notice to basically any destination on the planet.

"I was on Travis Air Force Base twice before, once when I was two and the other from Okinawa when I was a kid. That's the extent of my knowledge regarding Travis Air Force Base, so this trip helped me understand the expanded role of their base," said Carlene Joseph, Harbostone Credit Union vice president of community development. "What amazes me the most is the skill level of these young Airmen and how each and every one are very proud of their role. Like McChord, Travis AFB has an incredible team."

As this portion of the tour concluded, the civics were treated to a buffet-style lunch at the Travis Heritage Museum, music provided by the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West, a tour of the museum and had an opportunity to meet with other civic leaders from the Travis area.

The tour continued with a review of the Travis AFB tower, a static KC-10 Extender and a static C-5 Galaxy aircraft. At each location they were met by experts in their career fields who explained their specific roles in regards to their airframe or job.

"One of the things I most noticed on the trip were the genuine smiles, even the shy ones, of all the Airmen both here at JBLM and at Travis," said Shelly Schlumpf, Puyallup and Sumner Chamber of Commerce president. "You all convey a love of your jobs.

"I don't think I've really had an opportunity to experience our service men and women in their work environments and it was easy to see that most everyone took pride in their work and accomplishments, knew the value of their contributions, and were glad for the opportunities that were afforded them."

The Travis event ended with a stop back at the flight line in which the civic leaders were thanked for coming and ushered back to their aircraft for a flight back to McChord.

After another two-hour flight back, which included an actual air refueling and dinner served on board in the form of box lunches, the civic leaders arrived back to McChord and their duty day was done.

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