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The Biggest Luzer


Planning on gaining a few pounds during the holidays? You’re in luck! The March Fitness Center is hosting the Biggest Luzer competition, starting Jan. 4, 2016, for all Defense Department ID card holders, including military retirees, dependents 18 years and older (and out of high school), and eligible contractors.

The objective of the three-month-long, Biggest Luzer competition is to encourage authorized fitness center patrons to gain healthy wellness habits, and lose weight as they participate in the competition.

Participants may be individuals or part of a team (up to four members per team). Registrations forms are available at the Fitness Center and must be completed and returned in person. Participants can join anytime during the first three weeks (Jan. 4 through Jan 22).

The initial weigh-in is scheduled for Jan. 4, and subsequent weigh-ins will be every Wednesday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the Fitness Center. The competition ends with a final weigh-in on Mar. 31. A Fitness Center staff member will be required to complete your weigh-in. Weight loss is calculated on the percentage of weight lost (initial weight-new weight/initial weight). Measurements are optional at the initial weigh-in.

Progress will be tracked and maintained by Fitness Center staff, and all information is completely confidential. Participants are responsible for logging workouts, which is a requirement of the competition. Workouts can be done at the Fitness Center (individual, group exercise class or WELLBEATS reservation), or at an outside facility.  Particpants may also choose to receive weekly emails with motivational information, fitness guides and resources, Fitness Center events and classes, and general nutritional recommendations and referrals from an exercise physiologist.

Incentive prices will be given to each participant who completes eight WELLBEATS classes by the end of week four; 16 WELLBEATS classes by the end of week eight; or 24 WELLBEATS classes by the end of week 24.

At the end of the competition, the top two individual members and teams will receive Biggest Luzer T-shirts, bragging rights and a new and improved version of themselves! There is also an optional raffle to win more prized upon completion of the program.

Food Safety Tips


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food safety tips-22

452 AMW Quarterly Award winners announced


Airman 11

Airman of the Quarter

Senior Airman Jonathan Hueso452nd Civil Engineer Squadron

Airman 31

Senior NCO of the Quarter

Master Sgt. Nina Thurston, 729th Airlift Squadron

Airman 21

NCO of the Quarter

Staff Sgt. Javier Lugo452nd Operations Support Squadron

Airman 41

Company Grade Officer of the Quarter

Capt. Malia Hoffman56th Aerial Port Squadron

I am thankful for…


The collective Team March public affairs staff wishes a very safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend to all Team March members and their families. In preparation for this issue, we asked our Facebook fans and Team March members to complete this sentence:

I am thankful for…

Ms. Kelly Gonzalez: all that our husbands do to keep us safe, happy, and together while they are home and away.

Mr. Jack Easterling: the Boy Scouts’ picture at the Museum of us boys who lived on base back in the late 1940s; all the new friends we made as teenagers living in Green Acres and Dusty Acres on March Field from late 1945 to 1952; the Bob Hope shows on base; the chance to go out onto the flightline to see the first jets (Bell P59, Lockheed P80 Shooting Star, and later Boeing B29s); camping with the Scouts in Big Bear and taking PT boats from Long Beach to Catalina.

Ms. Lisa Lisa Lisa: my family, which includes my Air Force family as well as my Navy family!

Ms. Domenica Petrusa: our freedom and safety. Thank you U.S. Armed Forces.

Mr. Keith Mullins: the March Field Air Museum helping to preserve the history of the area.

Mr. DeWayne Mortensen II: a strong Inland Empire and its protective military presence which is ready always!

Mr. George Duggan: the good old U.S. of A!

Ms. Marissa Murguia: my family and all my friends, and thank you to all U.S. Military Branches.

Ms. Michelle Mears-Gerst: those who put God and country before selfish wants and desires.

Ms. Lynette Floyd: a loving family, good and close friends, living in a country free because of the dedication and sacrifices of our military. We have a lot to be thankful for.

Mr. John Florence: living in the best country and time throughout the history of earth. We have everything a human can ask for including heat, AC, running water, variety of food, shelter, transportation, soft beds and the list goes on and on. Even our poorest families live better than 90% of the world population going back to the beginning of time. We are truly lucky and more blessed than we will ever know just to be born in this awesome country during these wonderful times.

TSgt. Arthur Villegas: my family and friends that I have in my life. 

MSgt. Ameerah Beyah-Brewer: the sparkle in my children’s eyes, the friends and family that encourage and love me in all my endeavors, and the Nation that comes together crisis after crisis; for every individual who thanks me for wearing the uniform. I proudly serve them this Thanksgiving and always.

SMSgt. Keith Baxter: my family, friends and health. I am thankful my loved ones can live in safety and feel secure from those who may wish to do us harm. However, I am most thankful for my decision 22 years ago to enlist in the military. Everything I am and everything I have earned, I owe to the U.S. Air Force.

Maj. Mark Johnson: the brotherhood that is the United States Air Force.

MSgt. Andrew Davis: the ability to serve as an Air Force Reserve recruiter right back home here in Orange County for the 452nd AMW. It has allowed me to hit career goals I set for myself a long time ago – which in turn has allowed certain privileges for my wife and child.

Mr. Robert Kaschak: the ability to be able to do physical things, the opportunity to still function in my job, the heart and compassion to understand pain, help the suffering and the hope to be able to live a full life for the remaining days I have left with a healthy respect for all I come in contact with.

Lt. Col. Shawn Swarz: young people who continue to raise their hands and volunteer to enter the profession of arms.

Ms. Belem Morris: everything God has given me without deserving, including all the service men and women who have given their lives for us, when many of us don’t appreciate what they do for us.

Ms. Amanda Fairholt: my AF co-workers who have not only pushed me to be the best worker I can be, but also encourage me to accomplish my personal goals. THANK YOU GUYS!!!

Mr. Philip Navratil: GOD allowing me to wake up each day with the opportunity to serve the military men and women who keep our country safe and secure.

SrA Samantha White: my senses, which allow me to see, hear, and otherwise experience all the beautiful things in this world.

TSgt. Shane Olguin: my career in the Air Force and the job security that comes along with it.

SSgt. Edwin Ortiz: having a wonderful and loving wife and kids who have stayed strong while I have been gone supporting missions and for being part of my Heavenly Father’s Kingdom.

SMSgt. Lali Gomez: the gifts God gave me — my health, my family and especially my children, Joseph, 15, Sofia, 10, and Alicia, 6.

Maj. Gen. John Flournoy Jr: the incredible selfless service and dedication of all Citizen Airmen and civilians serving in Fourth Air Force.

Ms. Patricia Vegas: Jesus…my children…my mother…my brothers and sisters in Christ…my rooted church group…my women’s Bible study group…that my rooted group has given generously of their time, labor, and money to build showers for the homeless in Costa Mesa…for living in the United States…our ability to speak freely.

Mr. Elmer Little: all the Servicemen and women insuring our freedom on this holiday and every day.

Ms. Cheryl McDowell: being able to choose my attitude on a daily basis.

Mr. Everett Ahlbom: my country and the military who defend our freedom.

Capt. Daniel Greer: everything that God has given me – my family, friends, home, job, and a great Air Force aircraft to fly!

TSgt. Jill Lundgren: my husband who has taken on role of a father, grandpa, and uncle for my family. My grandchildren adore him and he is so wonderful with them. My niece and nephew love him and have a wonderful time when he’s around. It warms my heart to see him interact with them and see the joy he brings.

TSgt. Marcia Johnson: my daughter Samantha — for continuing to be a miracle in the making of God’s plan, having survived two bone marrow transplants at ages 3 1/2 and 4 3/4 for AML Leukemia, anticipating graduating in the spring of 2016 at CSUSB with her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, and watching her becoming a mature adult ready to take on what God has in store for her.

SrA Rachel Hollinger: my new baby boy, Charles, and how he and my husband have completed my little family.

TSgt Michael Reid: my loving wife.

Ms. Barbara Morris: all of my family (blood relatives and extended members and can’t forget my military family); and above all my lovely daughters who have given me the courage and will to set goals and accomplish them.

Ms. Pamela Smith: my health and strength, my family, and the many blessings god provides us each and every day.

MSgt. Eric Brasch: joining the Air Force Reserve over 29 years ago, thankful and proud for my service to our nation and especially thankful for the deeper appreciation and love I have and hold for my country and family.

TSgt. Cesar Villagran: per diem!!!

TSgt. Marcia Johnson: my daughter Samantha – for continuing to be a miracle in the making of God’s plan, having survived two bone marrow transplants at ages 3 1/2 and 4 3/4 for AML Leukemia, anticipating graduating in the spring of 2016 at CSUSB with her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, and watching her becoming a mature adult ready to take on what God has in store for her.

Mr. Tom Gillis: everyone who fights and stands up so we all can enjoy freedom and do the things we love.

Ms. Tylisha Julienne: the gratitude of my heart’s memories of family, life, love and laughter; God providing me with a heart of appreciation for the past, presence and the future; the ability to recognize the blessings of all things that have made my family and me who we are today; this day and every day of being part of the military family.

TSgt. Ritalynn Moss: my bad days because they make the good days better.

SMSgt. William Griffey: amazing children, great theatre, great friends, the ability to entertain, and blessing throughout the year – small and large.

MSgt. Adelina Quintero: having the opportunity to work beside some of the best leaders in the Air Force. The 452nd OSS is an amazing unit! Our leaders set the example and live by the Air Force core values both on and off duty, our commander, chief, and first sergeant pave the way and set the example both on and off duty. They truly care about our people and the mission. I cannot thank them enough for all they do. They go above and beyond and it is truly the best unit I’ve worked for both active and Reserve in serving more than 17 years. Thank you to all the 452nd OSS for your camaraderie. OSS we are the BEST!

SMSgt. Esteban Rodriguez: my family who keeps me grounded, my faith that keeps me sane, and my fellow Wingmen who watch out for me so that I can safely and return to my loved ones.

Lt. Col. Kimberly Savidan: my wrinkles as it means I laughed, my grey hair as it means I cared and my scars as it means I lived and served this great nation!

Mr. Magor James: the Lord blessings and everybody I meet, because there is something to learn from everybody – especially the very young and the old.

Ms. Malia Rabago: our troops! They work so hard to protect us without looking for something in return. It allows us to go on with our lives without disruption and worry so that we can enjoy the liberties and freedoms they afford us. I thank you and pray for you all!

Ms. Belinda Potter: all three of my boys visiting us for Thanksgiving this year. Sean is traveling from Wisconsin, Alec from Luke AFB, Arizona, and Brandon and Julie, my new daughter-in-law also from Luke AFB Arizona. Oh yeah and most of all thankful for such an amazing husband and father (Brad).

Mr. Andy Reynoso: all the Airmen who put service before self and excellence in all they do. Happy Thanksgiving to all who contribute to March ARB – civilian, reservist guardsman, AFR and active duty alike.

MSgt. Cynthia Spurgeon: my family, my home, friends and my job.

TSgt. Jason Blank: new family – the twins!

SrA Mia Sartain: only 40 days left of my deployment! I can’t wait to come home to my family, friends, and the 452 AMXS!

MSgt. Corinius Hill: the privilege of serving and protecting our nation, with the best Airmen, in the world’s greatest Air Force!!!

Mr. Anthony Paulsen: Jesus Christ being my one true Savior, my family and friends, but also all my brothers and sisters who have sacrificed so much of their lives in the military for this great country, making our world a better place in which to live.

Mr. Derek Sigars: Debbie Sigars, my supportive wife of 26 years, for sticking by my side through every peek and valley!! You are my rock, anchor, and best friend. Love Ya, Babe!

Ms. Deanie Lavergne: for my family, friends, and blessings that keep us safe.

Ms. Alma Jaravata: the gift of salvation through Christ, my personal Lord and Savior, who died and paid for my sins so I can have eternal life – to live my life as witness of His glory, His mercy and His faithfulness every single day ;-).

Capt. Malia Hoffmann: the privilege to serve in the world’s unrivaled Air Force.

SSgt. Sarah Bruen: my husband, who is a great friend and encourager.

MSgt. Kevin Jasper: for my family, without whose support, I would not be able to serve the way I have for the last 18 years here at March. I originally flew on the Cactus Flight up until it ended. I now drive once a month from Arizona to serve this great country of ours!

TSgt. Uldarico Penaranda Jr: family, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness and a grateful nation that supports the military. – AIM HIGH –

MSgt. Adrian Miranda: having a family who supports me unconditionally, and for the health for which we are so blessed.

Capt. Perry Covington: my wife and my daughters.

SrA Callie McNary: so many things – my wonderful family, my amazing friends, and the opportunities the Air Force has given me, both professionally and personally.

Ms. Linda Welz: my relationship with Jesus, my husband, kids and grandkids (even the four-legged ones), my freedom, my friends, my job, co-workers, and military members past and present. Wishing you all love, safety and abundant blessings this Thanksgiving!

SrA Ellen Claire Aniag: my health.

TSgt. Doreen Kelley: my God, my country, my job, but most of all, my children, without whom none of the rest would be as sweet.

TSgt. Marcy Swan: God’s grace and mercy, the little things in life that put a smile on my face, my USAFR supervisor – for her understanding and genuine Wingman attitude, these simple words, ‘I love you’ (from family) or ‘Good job!’ (from co-workers and supervisors).

Author brings hope into lives of military children


Army & Air Force Exchange photo/Chad Davis

Children’s author, Michelle Staubach Grimes, met with military families during a book signing at the March Air Reserve Base Exchange Nov. 21. Grimes signed copies of her book “Where Is Pidge?” and chatted with and posed for pictures with military families. She is a daughter of Roger Staubach, a Navy veteran, Heisman Trophy winner and NFL Hall of Fame quarterback. “I’m passionate about giving back to those that serve our country because these men, women, and their families make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us,” Grimes said. “I know the children in military families face struggles every day with an absent parent, being the new kid, feeling alone, etc. I want to bring hope into their lives and let them know they’re not alone.”

Emergency cold weather shelter available Dec. 1 for homeless


With the approach of El Niño, the County and City of Riverside have provided funding for additional beds with Path of Life Ministries Community Shelter to help those who are living in their cars or on the streets during the winter season.

The additional 65 beds will be available Dec. 1 at 2840 Hulen Place in Riverside and will be available on a first-come first-served basis through April 15. The emergency beds will be available at 4 p.m., seven days a week regardless of the weather. Path of Life Shelter has a capacity of 129 beds.

In addition to a safe and warm place to sleep, shelter guests are offered an evening hot meal, breakfast in the morning, and shower facilities. Additional referrals to and assistance from community resources also will be available.

Path of Life Ministries also operates a shelter program at the same location designed to help adult individuals exit homelessness; a 50-bed family shelter program with the same goals for families with children; several housing programs for homeless individuals and families; and other programs focused on employment, behavioral health, and childcare.

For more information about Path of Life Ministries programs, please call 951-462-9822.

For outreach services to the homeless in the City of Riverside, please call 311.

November: National American Indian Heritage Month 2015


National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the original inhabitants, explorers, and settlers of the United States.

This presentation reviews the historical milestones that led to the establishment of National American Indian Heritage Month, covers various aspects of American Indian and Alaska Native life, and honors the contributions of our Native Service Members.

The Society of American Indian Government Employees has chosen this year’s theme, Growing Native Leaders: Enhancing Our Seven Generations.

The characteristic that has been clearly demonstrated by the deeds of American Indians in combat is the warrior tradition.

The warrior tradition is best exemplified by the following qualities said to be inherent to most, if not all American Indian societies: strength, honor, pride, devotion and wisdom.

American Indians have participated with distinction in United States military actions for more than 200 years. Their courage, determination, and fighting spirit were recognized by American military leaders as early as the 18th century.

American Indian and Alaska Native employees represent one percent of the Defense Department’s federal workforce.

The nation’s population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, including those of more than one race, was 5.2 million in 2013, making up about two percent of the total population.

By the year 2060, the population of American Indians and Alaska Natives is expected to be 11.2 million.

A new generation of American Indians and Alaska Natives has assumed this charge from their elders, and they continue to improve living conditions and opportunities for a better future.

News Briefs 11/20/2015



Beginning in December, during the Unit Training Assemblies, the March Education and Training office will conduct ongoing, mass briefings for any Tuition Assistance, GI Bill and Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) inquiries. Their schedule is as follows:

CCAF briefing:

UTA Sundays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. in Bldg. 441, Rm. 12

Tuition Assistance briefing:

UTA Sundays from 1 to 1:45 p.m. in Bldg. 441, Rm. 12

GI Bill briefing:

UTA Sundays from 2 to 22:45 p.m. in Bldg. 441, Rm. 12

In-processing (technical school):

Monday – Friday from 2 – 3 p.m. in Bldg. 441, main office

For more information, contact Master Sgt. Brown at 951-655-4442.


The 2015 Federal Benefits Open Season (for the 2016 plan year) runs from Monday, Nov. 9, through Monday, Dec. 14. If you are enrolled in the Federal Employee Dental and Vision Insurance Program (FEDVIP) plan, it will automatically continue into the 2016 plan year, even if you retire. You must take action if you wish to make changes or cancel. Visit BENEFEDS.com to check the 2016 premium amounts, research plan coverage and/or make changes. For general questions, visit the Education & Support section at BENEFEDS.com.


Are you interested in learning more about the Mind and Body connection and how this can promote better overall health? Then come join the interactive and informational series of one-hour classes based on the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine’s Resilient Warrior. Classes are scheduled on the A and B Unit Training Assemblies through September 2016. Topics for the six-part series include

– Stress Reactions and Relaxation Response

– Getting Good Sleep

– Mindfulness and a Positive State of Mind

– Yin and Yang of Resiliency

– Yoga & Journaling

– Social Connections & Communication

Time and Location:

UTA Sundays, 11 a.m. – noon

Bldg. 470, room 205   

Contact frank.pavone@us.af.mil or 655-4551 for more information. No reservation required.


Upcoming dates for Yellow Ribbon events are Dec. 18-20; Jan. 29-31; Feb 19-21; and Mar 18-20. The December Yellow Ribbon is now open for registration for eligible members. For more formation, contact 1st Lt. Shelley Lawrence, your 452nd Air Mobility Wing Yellow Ribbon representative, for details at 951-655-4615.


The 452 AMW Flu Vaccination Campaign has begun, and will continue through the December’s UTAs. The Flu vaccination is mandatory for all Airmen unless exempted by medical staff. Airmen not current with their Flu vaccination after the December UTAs will potentially be placed in a no-point, no-pay status.

Please remind your fellow Airmen to attend our mass immunization site at Bldg. 355 (2355 Graeber St.) during the November UTA.

Mass immunization will be Saturday, Nov. 21, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

A mobile vaccination site will be at the Wing Commander’s Call on Sunday, Nov. 22.

Starting in December, all Flu vaccinations will be given at the base clinic.

All Airmen, Unit Health Monitors and leaders are asked to get their annual Flu vaccination at the earliest convenience, and to encourage others to do the same. Help make this year’s Flu Campaign a success. There is no vaccine available for civilians at this time. For questions or concerns, email Maj. David Haupt at david.haupt.7@us.af.mil.


The March EO office is looking for ARTs/civilians interested in training to serve as Collateral Equal Opportunity counselors. This is an additional duty appointment. The Collateral EO counselors serve as a bridge between civilian employees and management for informal complaints concerning discrimination. Applicants should be at ease with oral and written communication to all pay grades, and have the ability to remain neutral while performing his or her duties. The additional duty will not exceed 20 percent of the counselor’s primary job duties. Applicants range from GS-05 to GS-12 or equivalent. Primary supervisor concurrence required. Training is required, date/time to be determined. If interested, contact Ms Paula Greenhaw, paula.greenhaw@us.af.mil, Maj. Nixomar Santiago, nixomar.santiago@us.af.mil.


Upcoming Tours

Solvang at Christmas

December 5, 2015

7 a.m. – 9 p.m. approx.

$30 per person

Visit the Historic Danish Village in Santa Barbara as they celebrate the holidays with one-of-a-kind ornaments, Danish pastries, cookies and a Christmas parade.  The trip home will include a stop at the Chumash Casino Resort.  Register by noon on Nov 30, 2015

L.A. Garment District Shopping

December 19, 2015

9 a.m. – 7 p.m. approx.

$25 per person

This is a great opportunity to do some holiday shopping!  You’ll have a chance to visit lots of great shops in both Garment & Flower Districts.  Register by noon on Dec 14, 2015

Las Vegas Turnaround

January 15, 2016

6 a.m. – 3 p.m. approx.

$25 per person

Ages 21+

Register by noon on Jan 12, 2016

Whale Watching

January 22, 2016

7 a.m. – 7 p.m. approx.

$45 per person

Join us for Whale Watching in San Diego with a stop at Horton Plaza and Sea Port Village for a little shopping.  Cost includes ticket and transportation.  Register by noon on Jan 4, 2016

Amusement Park Specials

Castle Park: $16 per person includes unlimited rides, water park access, miniature golf and the new Sky Rider.

Disney 3-Day Park Hopper military special: $130 per person (adult/child)

SeaWorld “Waves of Honor” special: Extended through November 11, 2015. Program provides a one-time, limited, free admission to SeaWorld San Diego per veteran service member and up to three guests. Visit WavesofHonor.com to register for and obtain your free admissions. Additional tickets are available for purchase from the Tickets & Tours office.

Discount Movie Tickets

Available for only $10 each and valid for Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres and Edwards Cinemas.

Hotel Discounts

Receive 10% off any Best Western and 15% off any Choice Hotel

Visit the Tickets & Tours page at MarchFSS.com and download the Discount Ticket Price List for a full list of discounts tickets prices, hotel discounts and special promotions. Call Tickets & Tours at 951-655-4123 for more information.


The March Aero Club offers flight training (flying, private license, ground school, instrument training) at very reasonable rates including a pay-as-you-go plan with zero down. Visit Hangar 355 on base or call 951-655-3875 for more information.


Outdoor Recreation has a variety of equipment for rent such as camping gear, water sports equipment, bicycles, and trailers to carry it all! Special orders for Callaway, Odyssey, Cleveland, Never Compromise, Nike, Bag Boy, Sun Mountain and Staff golf equipment are also available.  Download the full equipment rental price list at MarchFSS.com, call 951-655-2816 or come on by for more information.


The March Fitness Center has received the Wellbeats Virtual Group Fitness Kiosk. This kiosk allows members to participate in virtual fitness classes.

Daily Wellbeats Fitness Schedule is:

Mondays: 11 a.m. — REV (spin); 12 p.m. — Pilates

Tuesdays: 11 a.m. — Fit for Duty; 11:30 a.m. –  Kinetics

Wednesdays: 11 a.m. — V.I.B.E./Strength Training; 12 p.m. — Core

Thursdays: 11 a.m. — REV (spin); 12 p.m. — Fit for Duty

Fridays: 10 a.m. — V.I.B.E./Zumba; 11:15 a.m. — Pilates

UTA Saturdays: (A UTA) 5 p.m. — Fit for Duty; (B UTA) 5-7 p.m. — Pick-up Basketball

Additional opportunities for fitness:

Dec. 8: 2 x 2 Holiday Volleyball Tournament begins. Tourney runs Dec. 8-9 and 15-16 beginning at 11 a.m.

Dec. 17: Intramural Volleyball meeting, 11:30 in the gym. Volleyball season begins in February.

Dec. 18: Holiday Zumbathon from 10 a.m. – noon

Mon/Wed/Fri at 11:30 a.m. – Battle ropes training

UTA weekends at 7 a.m.: Fit for Duty

Call the Fitness & Sports center at 951-655-2292 to sign up or for more information on these programs.


Every Wednesday night starting at 4 p.m., Sally’s Alley is open for business with Grill Night. For more information, call them at 951-653-2121.


The 452nd Communication Squadron’s Knowledge Operations Sections located in Bldg. 2313, Rooms 25 and 26 will be closed in observance of Family Day on Friday, Nov. 27. These offices will include the Knowledge Operations Manager, Mail Center, Pubs and Forms and Records Management.

U.S. Vet breaks ground for new homes

U.S. Air Force photo/Linda Welz

Ground was broken November 9, near the March Main Exchange for the March Veteran’s Village, a low or no cost housing complex for homeless and in-need veterans.

Plans for a 138-unit permanent housing apartment complex include a 60-unit transitional housing facility, computer lab, community rooms, tot lots, classrooms and services provided by U.S. Vets, according to John Mealy, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition.

“These units will be comfortable, attractive, moderate apartments for U.S. Vets, all of whom are in need, some homeless,” he said.

The March Joint Powers Authority donated the land and $10 million to the U.S. Vets, and has been with the project through many years of leadership, planning, patience and persistence, said Chairman Andy Melendrez, councilmember, City of Riverside, and chairman, 2015 March Joint Powers Commission.

“Riverside County has the 8th largest homeless veteran population in the country,” he said. “This new facility will provide housing for homeless and single vets.”

Those involved with the project are doing the best they can to reduce the numbers of homeless vets, which rounded out at approximately 2,000 in the Inland Empire this year, said Steve Peck, U.S. Veterans Initiative.

“Our goal is to end veteran homelessness and create services that go beyond that,” he said. “We will keep doing this until we get all of them off the street.”

Peck talked about the “Resident Council” set up at each U.S. Vets housing facility, the first of which was established in 1993 in Inglewood, California. “It’s important for the residents (of these facilities) to have a voice,” Peck said.

Thanking everyone involved in the “team effort” to see this project through, U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert said, “Our veterans have fought hard and sacrificed. Ensuring they have housing is the least we can do.”

Team March 101: 163rd Attack Wing


(This series, from the 452nd Air Mobility Wing public affairs staff, will introduce you to the many mission partners on and around March Air Reserve Base.)

The 163rd Attack Wing is one of five California Air National Guard units, and is headquartered here, making them one of the largest mission partners in the Team March family. Known as the ‘Grizzlies,’ the 950-member unit conducts flight operations with the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aerial (RPA) system. The wing has both federal and state missions, resulting in an operation that is diverse and challenging. 

The 163 ATKW’s federal mission includes providing rapid combat support in times of war, as well as providing assistance during national emergencies. The wing’s wartime mission also includes maintaining support and combat-ready units assigned to most Air Force major and combatant commands to carry out missions compatible with training, mobilization readiness, humanitarian and contingency operations.

When the 163 ATKW is not mobilized or under federal control, it reports to the California governor. The wing is supervised by the adjutant general of the state or territory. Under state law, the wing provides protection of life, property and preserves peace, order and public safety. These missions are accomplished through emergency relief support during natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and forest fires; search and rescue operations; support to civil defense authorities; and maintenance of vital public services.

“We have to stay flexible at all times. Our mission is two-fold, federal and state,” said Capt. Cody Lange, officer-in-charge, 163rd Force Support Squadron. “At any given moment we can be deployed overseas to support wartime efforts or we can be asked to assist in support efforts during a natural disaster here in our home state of California.”

The 163rd Attack Wing’s units are staffed primarily by dual-status military technician and guardsmen on active duty, who perform day-to-day management, administration and maintenance of the wing’s various functions. Its technicians train with the unit and are mobilized with it when it’s activated. Active-duty members serve under the command authority of the state unless mobilized for federal duty. The majority of the wing’s personnel are drill status guardsmen, reporting for Unit Training Assemblies every month to maintain their career-specific knowledge and skills.

“The assortment of skill sets that our people bring from their civilian careers is paramount in the success of our wing,” said Capt. Jennifer Covington, officer-in-charge, 163rd Sustainment Services Flight. “That type of experience is vital to what we do here.”

The 163rd Attack Wing’s primary wartime mission is to provide commanders and war fighters, who are engaged in combat operations around the world, with real-time intelligence, surveillance and strike support against fixed and perishable targets determined to be of a time-sensitive nature. Using the Reaper, the wing is able to provide clear battlefield assessments and responsive firepower where and when commanders need it.

Steeped in a rich military history, the wing traces its roots to the Army Air Corps’ 411th Fighter Squadron during World War II. Originally the 196th Fighter Squadron the unit was federally recognized on Nov. 9, 1946 and was located at the former Norton Air Force Base, California. Initially, the unit was comprised of 12 officers and 28 Airmen, but no aircraft. In December 1946, the unit received two Stinson L-5G and two T-6 Texan trainers. Afterward, as the unit began to grow, it received a C-47 Dakota and a B-26 Invader, until the arrival of the P-51D Mustang in February 1947.

After 21 months in active service, 15 of which were spent overseas, the 196th Fighter Squadron returned to the United States and resumed state-controlled Air National Guard status. The unit was moved to Ontario International Airport, California, and transitioned to the F-51 Mustang before transitioning in 1953 to the F-86 Sabre. Years later, in 1982, another move brought the wing to March Field where they assumed a tactical fighter role flying the F-4C and later the F-4E.

On Nov. 28, 2006, the wing became the first Air National Guard unit to employ the MQ-1 Predator RPA. Fast forward to July, 2015, the Wing was re-designated once again, to the 163rd Attack Wing, making it one of the first Air National Guard units to receive the MQ-9 Reaper RPA. Armed with a new mission and a new aircraft, the 163 ATKW is once again poised to distinguish itself as one of the Air Force’s premiere flying units.