Thursday, May 10, 2007

TOP STORY >>CC: Base, community are one

By Cynde Maddox
314th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

“Mission — People — Community” are three things 314th Airlift Wing Commander Brig. Gen. Kip Self has preached since taking command of the 314th Airlift Wing and Little Rock Air Force Base in September 2005.

Little Rock AFB is a valuable component in the community, just as it has always been, but the base’s “Mission — People — Community” synergy has significantly impacted off-base neighbors as well.

“Brig. Gen. Kip Self and his wife, Sue, have made a very positive impact to the communities outside of Little Rock Air Force Base. He participated in all issues where his input would have an impact. He has been a champion for the improvement or replacement of Arnold Drive Elementary School. They both will be missed,” said Jacksonville Mayor Tommy Swaim.
That synergy became apparent early in the general’s time here. In September 2005, the base was the international hub and clearinghouse for all international aid for Hurricane Katrina victims with the Little Rock AFB 50th Anniversary Air Show only four weeks away and a base realignment and closure process underway.

In the midst of C-130 relief-support missions, Airmen were deploying to support Joint Task Force-Katrina and more than 4 million pounds of international relief supplies were coming in from 47 international sources.

Airmen were doing what they have been trained to do, but along side them were community members doing what they were trained to do — taking care of the base, its Airmen and their families. As Airmen loaded hurricane relief supplies, community members delivered breakfast, lunch, dinner to them, found lodging for displaced Keesler AFB, Miss., Airmen and their families and collected food, water, clothing, bedding and furniture for other hurricane victims around the clock. “Little Rock Air Force Base’s mission and its people are here today thanks to the never-ending support that we have received from you, the community, for more than fifty years,” the general told community leaders.

Community leaders believe the reason the base has been so blessed with community support is because of commanders like General Self, who work along side base Airmen and the community to ensure successful mission accomplishment.

“No matter the time of day or night, our community is part of Little Rock Air Force Base. Just like General Self, the Sherwood community wants to make sure the Airmen will be taken care of and the mission accomplished,” said Sherwood City Alderman Lex “Butch” Davis. “(The base) plays a vital role in the defense of our nation. Our community just wants to take care of our good neighbors, because they are taking care of us.”

As General Self prepares for his next assignment, he reminded community leaders to remember the young men and women who serve in today’s military and make sacrifices every day in the defense of their country. “Those Airmen are saving lives thanks to the community support you have provided them,” he said. General Self will take command of the U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center, Air Mobility Command, Fort Dix , N.J., May 23.


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