Spokane-area civic leaders visit Offutt AFB

More than 20 Spokane-area civic leaders participated in a civic leader tour to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Aug. 24 and 25, 2017. The purpose of the tour was to increase civic leaders’ understanding of the United States Strategic Command, the mission of the 55th Wing, and to emphasize the importance of Fairchild winning the Omaha Trophy two years running. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

More than 20 Spokane-area civic leaders participated in a civic leader tour to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Aug. 24 and 25, 2017. The purpose of the tour was to increase civic leaders’ understanding of the United States Strategic Command, the mission of the 55th Wing, and to emphasize the importance of Fairchild winning the Omaha Trophy two years running. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson)

Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- More than 20 Spokane-area civic leaders participated in a civic leader tour to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Aug. 24 and 25.

The purpose of the tour was to increase civic leaders’ understanding of the United States Strategic Command, the mission of the 55th Wing, and to emphasize the importance of Fairchild winning the Omaha Trophy two years running.

USSTRATCOM employs tailored nuclear, cyber, space, global strike, joint electronic warfare, missile defense and intelligence capabilities to deter aggression, decisively respond if deterrence fails, assure allies, shape adversary behavior, defeat terror and define the force of the future.

“We support and defend the Constitution and the American people,” said Col. William Carle, USSTRATCOM Global Operations chief of staff. “Our men and women are 100 percent dedicated to our strategic deterrence mission to ensure the safety and security of our nation. This means strong ties to the community are absolutely essential to achieve this end as it boosts the morale and welfare of our warfighters whose families live and work in these communities and call them home.”

Upon arriving at Offutt AFB, Fairchild officials and civic leaders were greeted by Vice Adm. Charles Richard, USSTRATCOM deputy commander, and were given the opportunity to speak with various Offutt leaders, followed by an in-depth history presentation.

Throughout the day, civic leaders were provided the opportunity to tour the Battle Deck command center, an E-6B Airborne Command Post aircraft and the Global Operations Center.

The GOC is housed in a specially designed, two-level, 14,000-square-foot reinforced concrete and steel structure and contains the critical information management and communication systems which provide the USSTRATCOM commander an assured capability to manage forces worldwide.

“Whenever we get to see more of the whole picture of what the Air Force does, we understand the great lengths that are taken to keep America and our allies safe in an extremely volatile world,” said Harlan Shellabarger, Cheney Free Press publisher and 92nd Air Refueling Squadron honorary commander. “As Fairchild moves forward, we as the community need to understand the importance of having the base here and how we can help position the base for the future.”

The civic leaders also gained insight about the 55th Wing, the second largest wing in the Air Force headquartered at Offutt.

The 55th Wing provides dominant intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, electronic attack, command and control, and agile combat support to national leaders and warfighters. They operate a variety of aircraft to conduct operations across the globe.

The visit concluded with a presentation with Maj. Gen. Daniel Karbler, USSTRATCOM chief of staff, and the Strategic Command Consultation Committee, an advisory group comprised of business leaders from the Omaha area responsible for originally creating the Omaha Trophy.

Gen. John E. Hyten, USSTRATCOM commander, announced Fairchild as a winner of the 2016 Omaha Trophy in February 2017, making Fairchild the winner of the strategic aircraft category for the second year in a row.

“Team Fairchild plays an important role as the home base for the 92nd Air Refueling Wing,” Carle said. “The wing fuels the global reach and power of our national strategic forces to defend our
Nation and allies worldwide to deliver decisive force when called upon. Col. Samuelson and Chief Master Sgt. Rix have done an outstanding job inspiring their Airmen to support USSTRATCOM’s no-fail mission to the United States. The Omaha Trophy is well deserved.”

The Omaha Trophy is scheduled to be presented to Team Fairchild during a ceremony Friday, Sept. 1.