Spokane Indians Baseball team visits Fairchild
By Staff Sgt. Mackenzie Mendez, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 14, 2018
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Team Fairchild has a lot more in common with the Spokane Indians Baseball team than one may initially think. Both teams train how they fight, pride themselves on teamwork, and both have called the Inland Northwest “home” for quite some time. Not only did the Spokane Indians learn about the importance of teamwork in the military during their base tour June 12, they also had the opportunity to catch a glimpse of how young men and women in another uniform serve their country.
During the Indians’ visit, they got to see many facets of the Team Fairchild mission, including operations and the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape school.
“Hosting the Spokane Indians at Fairchild was a win-win for their team and our Airmen,” said Col. Scot Heathman, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander. “We got to show off our KC-135, our air traffic control tower and our SERE partners. More importantly, their players got to interact with our Airmen and gain a better understanding of our rapid global mobility mission.”
No one knew what to expect when the tour kicked off at the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape gym. As the Spokane Indians made their way to the mats, SERE specialists were putting their mouth guards in and tightening their boxing gloves. The players prepared themselves as SERE instructors demonstrated basic one-on-one combat techniques with their students.
“It’s always a pleasure to share our profession with others. As SERE instructors, teaching is the heart and soul of what we do,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Sipos, 66th Training Squadron SERE specialist cadre. “Without the support of the local communities, the pride we all feel to be able to serve would be diminished. We aren’t looking for pats on the back, but their support is just one more thing that drives us to succeed.”
The Air Force combatives program develops an Airman’s individual strength, confidence, resilience and lethality, while simultaneously imparting a strong warrior ethos. SERE combatives builds upon the Air Force combatives program and provides additional techniques for high-risk-of-isolation personnel to use if they are required to survive, evade, resist or escape during the performance of their mission.
Following the combat demonstration the team had the opportunity to tour the air traffic control tower and simulator. As they took in the instruments and technology used to monitor air space, a KC-135 passed right in front of the tower, giving the Indians a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ATC Airmen provided an overview of their mission, a demonstration of their training simulator and discussed the importance of constant and clear communication.
Among lessons learned in communication and teamwork, the Indians came to realize how many of these young men and women are the same age as them; Airmen wear a uniform but play in a different arena.
“This important partnership gives the team a chance to visit Airmen of similar ages which is great because they are able to get a better understanding of the significance of the roles these men and women play in the Air Force,” said Otto Klein, Spokane Indians Baseball senior vice president. “It gives the team new perspective on the importance of our military. We love hosting Team Fairchild and are always willing to help their team take a break, kick-back and relax.”
To wrap up the tour, the Indians got up close and personal with the KC-135, the backbone to the Air Force’s refueling mission. The players snapped selfies, sat in the pilot’s chair and asked questions about the tanker’s fuel capacity, flight time and if pilots were ever too tall to fly.
After a day filled with experiencing Fairchild’s mission, meeting new people and creating a lasting partnership, Team Fairchild is proud to share a home with the Spokane Indians.