Sheppard hosts squadron adopters

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- There's good news and bad news. The bad news is at least a dozen T-38C Talons crashed May 12 during training. 

The good news is they were flight simulators flown by community partners during Sheppard's Squadron Adoption Day. The day was set aside to provide adopters an inside look at training here are four different locations. 

Adopters from local businesses and agencies toured and participated in parachute folding at the 361st Training Squadron, aircraft maintenance at the 364th TRS, dental training at the 381st TRS and shots at flying the 80th Flying Training Wing's T-38C flight simulators. 

For Tim Chase, the president of the Wichita Falls Board of Commerce and Industry, the most impressive part of the day wasn't part of the four stops. 

"The thing that strikes me the most is the tremendous amount of knowledge these Airmen must possess to do their job," he said, adding their knowledge is also ensuring the safety of other Air Force members and providing defense of the country. "That is the take-away I enjoyed most." 

Mr. Chase said the Squadron Adoption Program, currently ran by the BCI, is an important program that not only fosters good will among the base and communities, but it also strengthens the base's viability. 

"A community-base relations program has evolved over several decades from social interaction from a government entity that was thought to be self-contained to today - (a program in which we) work together to make changes and improvements," he said. "The objective is to be diligent in improving the military value of Sheppard because the military value of the installation is a measure used by the Department of Defense as they make decisions." 

The flight simulators seemed to be the crowd favorite as each group of about 12 community partners had their turn at flying over Wichita Falls without leaving the ground. The occasional scream from the "pilots" and the slammed their aircraft into the Texas landscape was soon replaced with moments of laughter. 

Elmer Emory, a member of the Kiwanis Club and adopter of the 82nd Civil Engineer Squadron, gave a quick reply when asked about earning his wings.
"They said they're in the mail," he quipped. 

Mike McKito, the 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs media relation chief and organizer of this year's event, said he wanted to plan an event that would be fun and memorable for the group of about 50 adopters and 24 squadron representatives. 

"Our goal was to thank the adopters for everything they give to the base," Mr. McKito said. "I thought that giving them a 'hands-on' tour of the base would be an event they would remember for a long time." 

Mr. Chase said Squadron Adopter Day will be an off-base event next year.