Members of the Edwards Air Force Base Civ-Mil group visited the base May 18, 2018, for a day-long visit that combined a review of some of the projects the group has supported, with highlights of the base’s flight test mission.
The visitors were greeted by Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer, 412th Test Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Roosevelt Jones, command chief master sergeant for the 412th TW, at the Flight Test Historical Museum, the group got a chance to visit the museum, including the restoration and historic storage hangar on North Base.
The tour of Edwards included plane-side visits with America’s newest fighter — the F-35 — the base’s bombers, as well as a flight-line tour.
Steve Zapka, of the Edwards AFB Public Affairs Office, led the tour with behind-the-scenes details about base operations. When asked how he knows so much, he replied that all the planes on the poles were ones he used to chase as an aerial photographer working on base. Other than streets in the housing area and Lancaster and Rosamond Boulevard, all streets are named after pilots and flight crews who lost their lives testing some of the world’s newest jets. “It just goes to show how dangerous flight test is,” said Zapka.
One stop on the tour was the Airman Leadership School — a mandatory, 24-day school where airmen learn the qualities of leadership.
“Other than our technology, what separates us from all other military around the world is that we invest into the well-being of our Airmen,” said Jones. Historic uniforms lined the hallways, all with tales to tell.
Civ-Mil also supports the Higher Grounds Internet Cafe. Open 24-7, airmen can play a game of pool, have a cold drink and fellowship. Civ-Mil has donated, among other items, coffee machines, computers and pool tables — all to help make life a little more ‘home away from home’ for the single airmen at Edwards. The organization helps by donating holiday gift cards, support for emergency travel, gas cards for medical appointments and other services.
“In an age of technology where it is easy for people to get off work and log on, we forget how important it is to connect,” explained Jones. Civ-Mil also collects donations for the Airman’s Attic — where airman can shop for free.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this group, especially after seeing it up close,” said Bill McCabe Flight Test Operations for Boeding.
Chris Spencer, a Civ-Mil member, said he has known about the base for more than 20 years but he didn’t know half of what was happening. “It’s pretty amazing,” he said, speaking of the one-of-a-kind drone program led by Maj. Dan Riley.
For more information on Civ-Mil and how you can help support Edwards Air Force Base, visit www.eafbcivmil.org.