Davis-Monthan Air Force Base leadership and local Tucson community leaders attended an Air Force Community Partnership annual update meeting at the Pima County Abrams Public Health Center in Tucson, Ariz., May 25, 2017.
The annual meeting was conducted for the base and local community to speak on each other’s involvement on improvements.
“It’s not what’s inside the fence line – it’s about that partnership,” said Col. Scott Campbell, 355th Fighter Wing commander. “If the base is removed, the community is left with a gaping hole. I don’t mean physically, and we’re not talking about the economic impact, we’re talking about that partnership.”
The AFCP members discussed improving Airmen and their skills through training and education opportunities.
The University of Arizona partnered up with linguists from the 55th Electronic Combat Group to help improve their elite language skills through training while cutting costs at the same time. The collaboration between the base and the local Tucson college will allow Airmen to further their language proficiencies for combat readiness downrange.
Plans for base-wide upgrades that will impact not only D-M AFB but Tucson were also discussed.
In hopes of defusing a heavy flow of traffic on the Swan Gate, there are plans of opening the South Wilmot gate which is located at the intersection of Wilmot and Valencia road.
“It’s a big deal for everybody, it’s not just a big deal for me,” Campbell said. “It’s anti-terrorism force protection. The South Wilmot gate is right off of I-10 so we can get trucks directly to AMARG on base, we can lower traffic and everybody wins.”
Other projects in the works between D-M AFB and the local community are a 100-acre bike trail starting outside of the installation, University of Arizona and Pima County Community College internships for military members and families, and free swimming lessons for 100 military children at a local YMCA.
“We’re a member of this community, not just an Air Force base behind a fence line,” said Mike Toriello, 355th Civil Engineer Squadron honorary commander. “We want to share our thoughts with them and get their ideas so we can grow together and be able to explain what our mission is about and get their assistance in supporting our people.”