A Letter to the Spokane Community

  • Published
  • By Col. Cassius T. Bentley III
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

For the past 20 months as the 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, I’ve had the distinct privilege of working for and serving the Airmen of Fairchild Air Force Base. These men and women have set a very high standard for superior performance across Air Mobility Command and understand the huge responsibility that comes with being our Air Force’s only “Super Tanker Wing.”

Over the past few months, we’ve balanced our day-to-day operations with the additional demands of preparing for readiness inspections. This past December, we completed a large-scale readiness exercise, putting our Air Force’s priority to advance Multi-Capable Airmen concepts and Agile Combat Employment tactics to the test…and as expected, our Airmen hit it out of the park!

Every day we’re hard at work trying to improve the quality of lives for our Airmen and their families. This year, we hosted the first-ever Quality-of-Life Summit and partnered with some of Spokane’s finest experts in areas of diversity and inclusion, military spouse job licensure, childcare, and affordable housing. In doing so we’ve garnered some major wins and identified paths for even more wins.

We also partnered with the Spokane Indians Baseball Team for Operation Fly Together, an incredible initiative that honors, supports, and celebrates the thousands of U.S. military veterans who reside in the Spokane community. They were even recognized as Minor League Baseball’s 2021 Organization of the Year, in large part due to this partnership.

In early December, I was notified that Team Fairchild was selected as an Air Force finalist for the 2022 Commander-In-Chief Installation Excellence Award, signifying Fairchild as one of the top two bases in the entire Air Force. This distinct selection recognizes our efforts to enhance the installation through investments in people, programs, and facilities. It also recognizes innovation and superior operation of military installations, showing that we have used our resources well to support the mission.

In January 2022, the majority of our Airmen living off base will receive a sizable increase in their Basic Allowance for Housing. This benefit is meant to help service members and their families secure affordable housing, which has been a struggle in recent years as the Spokane housing market has become more competitive.

We hope you are looking forward to the Inland Northwest’s leading airshow, Skyfest, May 14-15, 2022. If you haven’t already heard, we’ll host the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds as headliners, among many more spectacular acts. Team Fairchild can’t wait to see you there. From 9-24 July, 2022, we are hosting the CISM Women’s Military World Cup soccer tournament. Team Fairchild can’t wait to see you there too.

Simply put, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish any of our successes without you, our Spokane community. On behalf of the 11000 Airmen and families that call Fairchild AFB home…Thank you for the phenomenal work you’re doing to improve Team Fairchild! Every day, I know many of you set your sights on issues facing our Airmen, and you accept the challenge to help improve the quality of life for them and their families.

We look forward to the amazing year that will be 2022.