Sound of Freedom - January/February 2021

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

A Place for

HEALING Dogs4Vets is about more than training service dogs

BRINGING THE HEAT

Senor Campos Salsa is a veteran’s project

A New Initiative

Sound of Freedom is published bimonthly by Times Media Group, a private publishing company. Times Media Group is in no way affiliated with Luke Air Force Base or the United States Air Force.


F I G H T E R C O U N T R Y PA R T N E R S H I P

Fighter Country Foundation: A year in review Luke AFB families with a deployed parent drive up to receive their gifts. (Photo courtesy Fighter

Resiliency in the time of a pandemic

Country Foundation)

BY BILL JOHNSTON Program Director Fighter Country Foundation

Prepackaged toys were ready to be given to Luke Air Force Base kids at the drive-thru event at Gila River Arena. (Photo courtesy Fighter Country Foundation)

F

ighter Country Foundation’s mission is to support the men, women, families and mission of Luke Air Force Base. It is an organization that brings people together to educate and provide awareness to the ways it can enhance the quality of life of those airmen and their families. With the pandemic and the associated social distancing restrictions, Fighter Country Foundation knew it would not be able to put on its traditional events in the manner it did in the past. It had to look for ways to continue them but keep everyone safe at the same time. It was important to try. For the Back-to-School Bash, families drove up to the Gila River Arena while volunteers brought out prepackaged school supplies and clothing to them while they waited in their cars. Over the course of several days, hundreds of families received supplies for a successful school year. For the annual Finance Expo, the event

2

would normally host hundreds of people at The Wigwam Resort to give them sound financial education on topics such as investing, tips on purchasing a Door prizes for attendees and professional resource providcar, budgeting and many ers prep to give out financial information to Luke AFB. more. This year, we provided (Photo courtesy Fighter Country Foundation) the same important financial Fighter Country Foundation would like to classes, but online. The expo was outdoor on a beautiful day in late October thank all its partners for helping it make 2020 at The Wigwam Resort. The socially distanced a successful year even in light of the pandemic resource providers gave mortgage, saving and and the struggles that many people are feeling. Making someone resilient means giving budgeting information in various scheduled them the information that they can use to times slots throughout the morning. The Fighter Country Foundation was able help in their day-to-day lives. The foundation to bring Operation Santa to the Luke AFB knows the events are important, but this year families who have a parent who is deployed. made them even more so. Military members Those kids drove up at The Wigwam Resort to and their families need to be resilient because get their $300 Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card of the challenges they face while they stand (thanks to Fiesta Bowl, USAA, Dick’s Sporting and defend the nation. Fighter Country FounGoods and FCF), a full dinner (thanks to Ru- dation has the mission to support, and it’s hapdy’s BBQ) and a hot chocolate and chocolate py to do its part in helping them build their resiliency. Santa (thanks to The Wigwam Resort).

Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021



Contents

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 Publisher Steve T. Strickbine Vice President Michael Hiatt Associate Group Publisher Laura Meehan, 623-777-1042 lmeehan@star-times.com JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

Executive Editor Christina Fuoco-Karasinski 480-898-5631 christina@star-times.com

A Place for

HEALING Dogs4Vets is about more than training service dogs

BRINGING THE HEAT

Senor Campos Salsa is a veteran’s project

A New Initiative

Sound of Freedom is published bimonthly by Times Media Group, a private publishing company. Times Media Group is in no way affiliated with Luke Air Force Base or the United States Air Force.

ON THE COVER

11

A veteran with his dog in the Dogs4Vets training session. (Photo courtesy Dogs4Vets)

Contributors Airman 1st Class Caleb Butler, Brian Cano Sr., John Heckenlaible, Bill Johnston, Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder, Cathy Olague, Bill Quehm, Tom Scanlon, Master Sgt. Louis Vega Graphic Design Veronica Thurman vthurman@timespublications.com Production Manager Courtney Oldham production@timespublications.com

21

24

30

2 Fighter Country Foundation A year in review

26 ‘Next-Gen Debrief’ Luke AFB enters ASU’s Spark Tank 2021

11 Spicing Up Arizona Disabled vet Stephen Paul Campos increases the heat in Arizona

30 A Place for Healing Dogs4Vets is about more than training service dogs 33 One-Stop Shop Community colleges ease the transition to civilian life

15 Expansion Plans The West Valley is ready to fly with Luke 18 Landing Funding West Valley Partners advocate for approval of JTEs 19 Offering Support Credit Union West is committed to community 21 Life Lessons Patriotic entrepreneur unveils Luxury Motorsports

36 Award Winners Luke reinforces TFI with DoD-level maintenance prize 39 The Other Heroes of WWII Airbase Arizona presents program on the manufacturing victory

24 New Initiative Program creates combat-ready F-16 crew chiefs

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Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

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Advertising Representatives Barbara Duran, 623-847-4608 bduran@star-times.com Connie Williams, 623-847-4601 cwilliams@star-times.com Circulation

Sound of Freedom is distributed by AZ Integrated Media, a circulation service company owned by Times Media Group. The public is permitted one copy per reader. For further information regarding the circulation of this publication or others in the Times Media Group family of publications, please contact AZ Integrated Media at circ@azintegratedmedia.com or 480-898-5641. For circulation services please contact Aaron Kolodny at aaron@azintegratedmedia.com

Sound of Freedom sets high standards to ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable manner. This issue was printed on recycled fibers containing 10% post consumer waste, and with inks containing a blend of soy base. Our printer is a certified member of the Forestry Stewardship Council, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, and additionally meets or exceeds all federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act standards.

Statements, opinions, and points of view express written consent by the writers and advertisers and are their own, and do not necessarily represent those of the publishers, editors, or Sound of Freedom staff. Although Sound of Freedom has made every effort to authenticate all claims and guarantee offers by advertisers in the magazine, we cannot assume liability for any products or services advertised herein. No part of Sound of Freedom can be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the express written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any editorial or advertising matter at any time.

Postmaster: Please return all undeliverable copies to Sound of Freedom, 1620 W. Fountainhead Parkway, Suite 219, Tempe, AZ 85282. All rights reserved. ®2020 Affluent Publishing LLC. Printed in the USA.



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BUSINESS

Arizona

Disabled vet heats up Arizona with salsa brand BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI

B

uckeye resident Stephen Paul Campos is continuing his father’s legacy in the Mexican food business with Senor Campos Salsa—salsa with a purpose. A native of Modesto, California, Campos started working with his father, Art Campos of Campos Foods, at age 14. “My father was a great role model,” he says. “I wanted to take over his business, but I wasn’t able to because of several factors. “We ended up selling it. I’ve owned three taqueria-style restaurants in California. I loved our food, and it never really left me. I started with hot sauces and salsa. It’s my passion. My two passions are writing books and helping veterans and my salsa.”

Stephen Paul Campos followed in his family’s footsteps and makes salsa, which he sells through a website and farmers markets. (Photos by Pablo Robles)

Resolving issues At the age of 19 in 1967, Campos enlisted in the U.S. Army and was sent to fight in Vietnam with the 199th Light Infantry. Campos was in the Army infantry unit and sent to Vietnam in 1968 and 1969 and served a tour of combat duty there. When he fulfilled his duty, he returned home to join the family business of making tortillas and Mexican food products to sell to grocery stores. “When I came back from Vietnam, I had a lot of issues,” says Campos, who is disabled. “I had a hard time adjusting and knowing what I wanted to do. I worked with (my dad) for a while over several different companies. I got involved with the wrong group of people when I came back. I was living the party life. Drinking was all I cared about. I wanted to forget about the war.” In 1981, he received two drunken driving tickets and was sent to a year-long alcohol program that required him to attend AA meetings. JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 |

Sound of Freedom

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BUSINESS He was in denial that he had a substance abuse problem until 1982, when his girlfriend left him. His depression got the most of him. “I started to think I was going crazy,” Campos says. “And then I started hearing a voice that (says) I should kill myself, I was a loser and going to hell. The voice got louder, ‘Kill yourself.’” He prayed repeatedly until he fell asleep. He was awakened by a vision of God, who said, “I love you.” The words broke his depression, and the light went back to darkness. “I looked over on my bedpost, and there was my grandmother’s rosary,” he adds. “I knew for sure I had a visitation from God.” The next day, he started Alcoholics Anonymous and made 90 meetings in 90 days. He became a born-again Christian in 1982. “I hadn’t resolved the issues with the Vietnam experience,” he says. He didn’t acknowledge his problems until a divorce in 2004 and a move to Baltimore. He lost “everything” in the divorce. He was saved by his Vietnam buddies, with whom he stayed in touch. “There were three of us in 1968. After a horrific firefight with the enemy, the three of us got together and we said we would protect each other until the war was over,” he says about his friends Eric Yingst and Jim Dyckhoff.

Stephen Paul Campos, besides selling salsa, has penned a handful of books about his and fictional experiences in the military.

“We would reunite. I kept in contact with one; he lived in California. The other, he extended, and we didn’t know if he made it out alive or not.” His friend found the third soldier on the internet, and they reunited at a ceremony honoring Vietnam veterans.

Stephen Paul Campos’ food line includes salsa and seasoning. They’re available on his website and at farmers markets.

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Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

“I was honored for the first time, and it broke my heart,” he recalls. “It completely melted me down. “To honor the vow we made until death in 1968, we met at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C.,” Campos says. “There were reporters who covered it. They ran our story about being rejected by the government and people. I was withholding any feelings I had about the Vietnam War until that day. It was an emotional day for all of us.” Rescued by a woman After he left Washington, D.C., his then-girlfriend, Kathy Lucia, encouraged him to write about his experiences. A poet, Campos never wrote a book before. He agreed with Lucia. “I thought it would be a good idea,” says Campos, who married her. “In that time, a lot of Vietnam veterans were not being honored for their service. Those who were in the war don’t want to talk about it. It was a tough time for us to adjust. “The VA has unlimited resources now for PTSD and alcohol. There was no help during our time. The VA turned us away in the ’70s and ’80s. It wasn’t until the Gulf War that they started opening the VA up to everybody—all veterans. Before that, you couldn’t get help in the VA unless you were injured.”


BUSINESS He found a publisher and released “Charlie Doesn’t Live Here Anymore” in 2009. That was the first of many veterans-centric books that he made available on Amazon. Salsa line In 1991, his father sold the company business and Campos started working in the insurance industry, where he still works full time. In 2018, he started Senor Campos Salsa to follow up on his dream to follow in his dad’s footsteps. “I started sending out samples to my friends and family, and they loved the taste and they kept asking me for more,” he says. He’s proud to offer his father’s Senor Campos Salsa for the first time since 1991. Campos says his salsa is special because it’s smooth and mild enough for anyone to

enjoy the flavor. It also comes in chipotle barbecue-flavored salsa and holy ghost pepper salsa. He sells his salsa and his accompanying tortilla chips at festivals, farmers markets and online. He’s hoping that after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, he’ll be able to sell it at grocery stores. “I make my salsa from the heart,” says Campos, who has lived in Buckeye since 2008 with his fitness trainer wife. “I want everyone to enjoy the delicious flavor, but I have to warn you that it is addictive. It’s made with fresh spices and ingredients that my father started in 1947 and in 1965 with Senor Campos Restaurants.”

Stephen Paul Campos hopes, after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, to sell his goods at grocery stores.

Senor Campos Salsa senorcampossalsa.com Books: Search for Stephen Paul Campos on Amazon.

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BUSINESS

Expansion Plans The West Valley is ready to fly with Luke

More jets like this will be taking off as Luke Air Force Base expands, meaning more jobs and more residents for the West Valley.

BY TOM SCANLON

(Air Force photo by Senior Airman Devante Williams)

E

veryone else in the West Valley is taking off—why not Luke Air Force Base? As Goodyear, Buckeye and Avondale populations soar and Glendale expands via annexation and dramatic commercial projects (Red Bull, White Claw, a planned water park), the historic air base in the bull’s eye of the West Valley is hardly about to be grounded. Indeed, it’s getting ready to soar like never before. A mission expansion revolving around 144 new fighter jets is set to pump Luke AFB’s population—and the surrounding areas of Glendale and Peoria, as well as Goodyear, Litchfield Park and Avondale to the south. Details of the expansion’s impact came out recently via the Luke AFB Targeted Growth Management Plan from the Maricopa Association of Governments. Luke is gradually ramping up for the F-35A Lightning II jets over the next six years. Just as the roar of the jets is hardly confined to the base, the roar of Luke’s economic engine will spill into sur-

“The defense-related industry is a backbone of our economy. The mission expansion ensures Luke AFB will continue to be an important regional player, especially in the West Valley. The goals of the growth management plan are to support the base and leverage the opportunities presented.” –Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers

rounding cities. Glendale, for one, is ready for takeoff. “The defense-related industry is a backbone of our economy,” says Glendale Mayor Jerry Weiers. “The mission expansion ensures Luke AFB will continue to be an important regional player, especially in the West Valley. The goals of the growth management plan are to support the base and leverage the opportunities presented.”

Weiers is also the chairman of the Maricopa Association of Governments, so he had an early peek at the new study. “This plan is a result of nearly two years of work,” he notes. Litchfield Park and Goodyear also welcomed the study’s outline of growth. “The city of Goodyear is home to many military families, and we are very supportive of our men and women in service,” says Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord. “We welcome these service members and their families to our community with open arms.” The Goodyear mayor has personal reasons to be excited about the expansion. “As a military spouse for many years, I know the sacrifices these families make for our country and I am always proud of their contributions. They deserve a great place to call home for the time they are here, and I hope that they will be able to enjoy all that our region has to offer,” Lord says. What might be called a financial contrail in the jets’ wake is expected to be huge. By 2026, the defense spending in support of Luke AFB is expected to support approximately 13,900 total jobs, $820 million in

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 |

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BUSINESS total compensation and $1.5 billion in value-added impacts to the West Valley, according to the MAG study. Base-supported jobs are projected to generate an average annual compensation of $59,400 per job. And the impact is far greater than military jobs, with Department of Defense civilian contracts and goods and services that support them. About 5% of Arizona ZIP codes have a higher concentration of defense contracts than the national average—and Goodyear 85338 has a 32% higher “location quotient” compared with the national average, according to the study. In 2012, the Department of Defense designated Luke Air Force Base as the training home of 144 new F-35A Lightning II fighter jets. The F-35A mission at Luke Air Force Base is projected to grow the local defense economy by 25%, with 90% of Luke AFB job impacts projected to occur in Glendale, Surprise, Goodyear and Avondale. In all, direct defense spending is anticipated to increase by nearly $220 million, according to the study. By 2023, the defense spending in support of Luke AFB is expected to bring not only 2,200 service jobs but also provide 14,000 jobs, $820 million in total compensation and $1.5 billion in “value-added impacts” to the West Valley, according to the MAG study. The goal of the Luke AFB Targeted Growth Management Plan was to analyze four key areas: education, workforce and economic development, housing and transportation.

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Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

About 5% of Arizona ZIP codes have a higher concentration of defense contracts than the national average—and Goodyear 85338 has a 32% higher “location quotient” compared with the national average. (Special to Sound of Freedom)

The study’s conclusion: “The analysis of the four key sectors indicates the West Valley is well-positioned to absorb the growth generated by the mission expansion and by more people moving to the surrounding communities.” The 2,000-plus service jobs will bring twice as many to the West Valley. “Many of those service members have families,” says Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder. He notes they are expected to be joined by an additional 4,717 household members, growing the base-related population to 23,704 by 2026. “Through these strategies, we will accommodate growth and provide both existing and new residents the best possible life experiences.” According to the study, the Luke expansion will create “significant demand for gasoline stations, electronics and appliance stores, sporting goods, hobby, books and music stores (with an emphasis in sporting goods), furniture and home furnishings and food and beverage places (bars, craft breweries, and distilleries).” The MAG study targeted jobs that will be in demand: • Trade occupations, such as industrial mechanics, aircraft maintenance, electricians, truck and bus drivers, and welding. • Health care industry occupations, such as pharmacy techs, lab techs and licensed practical nurses. • Public safety and administration occupations, such as teaching assistants and fire safety. • Finance-related occupations, such as bookkeeping and clerical work. Far more than jobs and financial impact, local leaders expect the expansion to continue the West Valley’s military tradition. “Glendale is proud to be the home of Luke Air Force Base, and for generations we’ve welcomed servicemen and their families,” Weiers says.


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BUSINESS

Landing Funding West Valley Partners advocate for approval of JTEs

I

BY SOUND OF FREEDOM STAFF

Clint Hickman, Maricopa County supervisor and board chairman. (Special to Sound of Freedom)

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n 2019, during Congress’ consideration of the Fiscal Year 2020 budget, the West Valley Partners advocated for the approval of $28 million, which would enable Luke Air Force Base to acquire three joint threat emitters (JTE) for use by the 56th Fighter Wing on Barry M. Goldwater Range (BMGR). In response to the partners’ request, the Arizona Delegation secured the funds to acquire the JTEs, which will ensure that the BMGR remains among the most capable training ranges in the world in support of F-35 Lightning II and F-16 Falcon training, as well as other joint force and partner training requirements. “The West Valley Partners, made up of Maricopa County and all 13 West Valley cities, share a common goal: to ensure Luke Air Force Base receives the support needed to remain viable for decades to come,” says Clint Hickman, Maricopa County supervisor and board chairman. “Working with our Arizona Congressional Delegation to acquire three Joint Threat Emitters for use by the 56th Fighter Wing on the Barry M. Goldwater Range means the installation will continue to receive mission critical equipment to support the F-35. I applaud the strong relationship shared between the West Valley Partners and our federal delegation.” The addition of joint threat emitters is a major step in staying relevant and being able to adequately support the F-35

Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

“The new emitters are far more capable than previous generations. They therefore will provide our F-35 pilots the ability to train to a more challenging threat environment.” suppression of enemy air defense systems training conducted from Luke AFB. Luke AFB and 56th Fighter Wing Cmdr. Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder note the added benefits the joint threat emitters will bring to aviators using the Goldwater Range. “The new emitters are far more capable than previous generations. They therefore will provide our F-35 pilots the ability to train to a more challenging threat environment,” he says. Luke AFB confirmed in October that an initial group of legacy JTEs has arrived and been installed at BMGR, with an additional three new production JTEs set to arrive in in 2021 as a result of Congress’ funding approvals. More work is underway to support the operation of the JTEs and their integration into the 56 FW training regimen. The mission of the 56 FW is to train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready airmen. The JTE nests directly into supporting the mission statement thanks to the support of Arizonans who advocated for this capability.


BUSINESS

Offering Support BY CATHY OLAGUE

C

redit Union West recently hosted a campaign to showcase the company’s 70-year commitment to the brave men and women who have served and are serving our country by honoring their dedication and patriotism. As a longstanding member of the Defense Credit Union Council, Credit Union West proudly supports military personnel and local communities. “Credit Union West is honoring our legacy by supporting service members with quality financial services and stepping up in our community,” says Karen Roch, president and CEO. “One of our core values is giving back to the communities we serve and those individuals who serve our nation.”

From participation in community events and sponsorship of critical community nonprofits to providing scholarships for local students, and being the credit union of choice for Luke Air Force Base (Luke AFB), Credit Union West is a trusted financial resource for the military community across Arizona. Credit Union West supports the following organizations and many others: • • • • •

Luke Air Force Base. Fighter Country Partnership. Veterans Medical Leadership Council. Glendale Stand Up 4 Veterans. Association of the U.S. Army.

“As a not-for-profit credit union, we focus on reinvesting in our members and our communities,” Roch says. “A big part

Credit Union West is committed to community of the Credit Union West community includes our military service personnel and veterans—supporting them is a part of our DNA and a point of pride for our company and our staff.” Credit Union West provides direct sponsorships, in-kind support, employee volunteering and more. Their employees provide financial education to newly assigned airmen at Luke AFB, champion Military Saves Week, participate in annual Financial Expos with Fighter Country Partnership, and support veterans pursuing their education. Credit Union West also provides scholarships to high school seniors who participated in a Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program as a part of the Credit Union West Scholarship Program. Info: cuwest.org/honoringservice

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Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021


BUSINESS

Life Lessons Patriotic entrepreneur unveils Luxury Motorsports BY BRIAN CANO SR.

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ico Gilcreest says he thrives on supporting the armed forces through his business. Gilcreest, owner of Luxury Motorsports Bell, opened a second ultra-luxury lot. The second location is located just outside Luke Air Force Base at 13812 W. Glendale Avenue. “We specialize in affordable luxury and sports cars,” Gilcreest says. Gilcreest, a resident of Goodyear with over 30 years’ experience in the auto industry, says his father’s U.S. Army examples helped shape his company’s core value system. Gilcreest says he values each of his customers with an emphasis on military veterans and first responders. “We back our first responders: nurses, cops, firefighters,” Gilcreest says. “We want to definitely let them know that we’re going to take care of them as well.” Gilcreest says expanding to near Luke provided a perfect opportunity to build his growing brand around. He opened his new location to meet the potential capacity in the West Valley. “We sell a lot of cars throughout the Valley,

and being that I live in the area, I want to concentrate on the Verrado, Estrella Mountains, Surprise area,” he says. Gilcreest says his dealerships have a stressfree atmosphere, which means that there is no additional pressure put on the customer. He thinks too many salespeople in the industry take on an overly aggressive sales approach. “We offer a no-haggle type atmosphere,” Gilcreest says. “We make the sales process easy.” Gilcreest says his company’s COVID-19 mitigation policy makes it safer for customers wanting to hang out while their vehicles are test driven. “We have disinfectant we use after the customers test drive them,” Gilcreest says. “We are going to protect our own, and our customers as well.”

The son of a veteran, Rico Gilcreest opened a second Luxury Motorsports near Luke Air Force Base. (Photo courtesy Luxury Motors)

Gilcreest says his staff offers “concierge service.” “If you’re looking for a specific vehicle that we don’t have, we have the technology and the ability to find those vehicles and deliver them to our customers in a very easy manner,” Gilcreest says. Gilcreest’s other facility is at 2141 E. Bell Road. For more information, visit luxurymotorsports.us or call 623-289-7375.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 |

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F E AT U R E

Airman 1st Class Jaydon Aguon, 372nd Training Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief, prepares an F-16 for flight at Luke Air Force Base. Aguon is enrolled in the sixweek F-16 Right Time Training course to learn basic flightline maintenance operations. The RTT class is a new initiative to provide small-group, instructor-led, hands-on training for F-16 crew chiefs after they complete technical training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

New Initiative Program creates combat-ready F-16 crew chiefs BY AIRMAN 1ST CLASS BROOKE MOEDER 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

T

he Air Force recently introduced a newly redesigned course for F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chiefs going through technical training. After completing technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, F-16 crew chiefs will now proceed directly to their first duty station to attend Right Time Training with the 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 12, which saves the Air Force money by cutting additional travel to additional duty stations. “RTT is their on-the-job training and reduces lost time for inprocessing,” says Staff Sgt. Darion Hubbard, 372nd TRS F-16 crew chief

24

instructor. “That way when the airman gets to their unit, after going through RTT, they’re ready to do the job on their own. This means less time spent away from doing the job, which keeps them ready and consistent.” Before RTT, new airmen went to Holloman AFB for their hands-on training first, then to their permanent duty station, where they lost time for inprocessing and specific airframe training. This led to a gap in time doing their new jobs, now within 45 days of inproccessing into their unit they go to RTT then right back to their units, Hubbard says. The 372nd TRS, Det. 12, plays a critical role in producing combat-ready crew chiefs at Luke AFB. The six-week course features intensive, instructor-led, hands-on training to familiarize the airmen with location-specific maintenance

Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

operations. With a small class size of up to five students, instructors can offer students a more personal experience, Hubbard says. “For training we go to the flightline to launch, recover and refuel the jet,” says Airman 1st Class Diego Garcia, 372nd TRS F-16 crew chief. “He just expects us to do our best, and if we’re struggling he just wants to see that we’re learning and capable of absorbing information.” Smaller class sizes lead to better, faster and tailored training to the aircraft they are working. “I take them to the flightline to get them familiar and comfortable with being around the aircraft and their new work environment,” Hubbard says. “We get hands-on with the jets. By the time my last class graduated, their grease-covered uniforms reflected all the hard


F E AT U R E

Staff Sgt. Darion Hubbard, left, 372nd Training Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief instructor, supervises Airman 1st Class Erick Moreno, 372nd TRS F-16 crew chief, while he inspects an F-16 before flight at Luke Air Force Base. Hubbard instructs the F-16 Right Time Training course and graduated a class of five students December 9. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

Airman 1st Class Erick Moreno, 372nd Training Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief and F-16 Right Time Training student, grabs a headset while preparing an F-16 for flight at Luke Air Force Base. During the six-weeklong RTT course, the students learn how to perform basic crew chief functions such as launching, refueling and maintaining aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

Staff Sgt. Darion Hubbard, top, 372nd Training Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief instructor, teaches his F-16 Right Time Training class basic aircraft maintenance procedures at Luke Air Force Base. While on the flightline, F-16 crew chiefs attending RTT class learn how to refuel aircraft, take oil samples, perform inspections and more. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder)

work and training.” Luke AFB’s first RTT class graduated October 6 and its third graduated December 9. In its first two iterations, the class has evolved to fit the needs of the students. Hubbard says the first class he taught spent two weeks in a classroom and the last four on the flightline. The class he is teaching completes one week in the classroom and the last five weeks on the flightline. “Now we’re just getting to the meat of what they need to do regarding daily sortie generations,” Hubbard says. “That includes lots of launching out and refueling aircraft, taking oil samples, doing their inspections and proper forms of documentation.” Det. 12 is the largest training detachment in the Air Force and had a large part in the validation process for the course, Hubbard says. When the airmen finish the new RTT course, they will be proficient in their job and able to hit the ground running at their first duty station. “We want to ensure we send out quality crew chiefs,” Hubbard says. “We want to make sure that they’re ready to operate on the flightline and generate sorties day in and day out.” JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 |

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F E AT U R E

Lt. Col. Alexander Turner, 56th Operations Support Squadron director of operations, conducts a post-flight debrief with student pilots at Luke Air Force Base. Aircrews conduct postflight debriefs using whiteboards and maps, which are conventionally 2D, to review each pilot’s performance during aerial operations. Two Luke AFB airmen and an ASU student developed software to enable smartglasses to translate data captured from fighter aircraft into a 3D visual format pilots can use to debrief aerial training missions. The concept, known as the “Next-Gen Debrief,” is the Air Education and Training Command’s nomination for competition at the Air Force-level Spark Tank 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caleb Butler)

‘Next-Gen Debrief’ Luke AFB enters ASU’s Spark Tank 2021

BY AIRMAN 1ST CLASS BROOKE MOEDER 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

L

uke airmen working with an Arizona State University student have developed a 3D augmented reality system that will revolutionize the way pilots conduct mission debriefs and will represent the Air Education and Training Command at Spark Tank 2021. Maj. Kevin Hawkins, 56th Operations

26

Support Squadron wing intelligence chief; 1st Lt. Adam Treece, 56th OSS intelligence readiness chief; Lt. Col. Alexander Turner, 56th OSS director of operations; and Dylan Kerr, ASU digital culture Master of Arts student, teamed to adapt Microsoft HoloLens2 smartglasses into a tool that aircrews can use to conduct detailed mission debriefs from an interactive, 3D perspective. The debrief process “is literally fundamental to how we learn every time we go out to train and fly,” Hawkins says. The 56th Fighter Wing’s mission is to train the world’s greatest fighter pilots and combat-ready airmen. Instructors train students to fly the F-16 Fighting Falcon and the F-35A Lightning II aircraft in preparation for combat operations. While flying,

Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

aircraft sensors capture flight characteristics including critical data such as position, airspeed, altitude and actions in a 3D environment, Hawkins explains. After each flight, instructors review the flight details with students to evaluate their performance while seeking ways to help them develop in a post-flight meeting called a “debrief.” According to Hawkins, aircrews perform debriefs using whiteboards and maps, which are conventionally 2D. While pilots can us computers to view portions of the flight, such as the position of the aircraft on the map, software limitations make it challenging to visually recreate the full perspecSEE SPARK TANK PAGE 29


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The City of Peoria is a champion of Luke Air Force Base and works hard to protect the Base to ensure their mission’s viability for years to come.

AIRMAN & FAMILY READINESS CENTER MILITARY MEMBERS, DOD CIVILIANS*, RESERVE, GUARD, MILITARY RETIREES & ELIGIBLE FAMILY MEMBERS SERVICES AVAILABLE:

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Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

Contact us for further information: (623) 856-6550 Email: 56fss.fsfr@luke.af.mil 7282 N. 137th Ave. Bldg.1113 Luke AFB, AZ. 85309 “We’re never the wrong place to go!” *Limited Services for DoD Civilians and their families


F E AT U R E SPARK TANK FROM PAGE 26 tive of each aircraft involved in the mission, he says. He says forcing 3D data into a 2D environment is not natural, and during that translation of data “there’s opportunity to make mistakes or it’s just harder to learn and complete,” Hawkins says. Hawkins and Turner envisioned a concept that would take full advantage of data captured by the aircraft’s sensors, and Kerr programmed the software to enable aircrews wearing the smartglasses to see the mission in 3D. “Augmented reality enables individuals who wear the smartglasses to interact with others and their surroundings,” Hawkins says. “We think it’s going to be really effective because we are able to see if the student pilots understand the information or not.” An additional advantage about using smartglasses is that it moves debriefs into the virtual domain. As a result, pilots who are geographically separated can discuss the mission together, Treece says.

“Right now, if I want to debrief with someone who flew a mission from a different base we’d have to do that over the telephone,” Treece says. “But imagine if you put these headsets on and could debrief virtually and both could see the same thing at the same time. That would make it a much more efficient process.” Initially, Air Force units submitted 305 Spark Tank 2021 projects to participating major commands for evaluation. The MAJCOMs selected 15 projects, including Next-Gen Debrief, to advance forward for Air Force-level review. The winning entry will be announced during the Air Force Association Aerospace Warfare Symposium in February. Hawkins says he is confident Next-Gen Debrief will succeed. “If we go to the finals and win Spark Tank and they ask us what our way forward is, we think we can get units to use the system within six months or so after finishing Spark Tank,” Hawkins says. Hawkins says that due to the classification level of some aerial operations, not all

units would initially be able to use the first version of the smartglasses to debrief, but they are navigating the approval processes for classified use. However, input from aircrews who use the technology following unclassified missions will be invaluable for future updates, he adds. The team’s vision is for aircrews to maximize the use of augmented reality while planning, executing and debriefing the mission. To enable the vision, the team hopes to gain visibility during the competition and show people this is what the process should look like moving forward, Treece says. “I think that there are many opportunities to use this as a jump-off point to introduce this type of technology into the way we do business,” Treece says. “In my mind, there are many more opportunities to make what we do that much more efficient.” Hawkins says the goal in the six to 18 months following Spark Tank 2021 is to increase efficiencies in the way the Air Force operates. With this technology, they think they can do just that.

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F E AT U R E

A Place for

HEALING they needed to expand the program and create a 501(c)(3). “We had a couple dogs in a garage at first,” Debbie says. “We now have had more than several thousand students. It got really out of control, so to speak, in a positive way. We love the idea of helping veterans train their own dogs to be service dogs.” The first step to the program is to apply, which costs $25. During the first 20 weeks, the trainer focuses on teaching the service dog teams basic behavioral fundamentals. They work closely with students and their dogs to ensure they are a team. The next phase of the program involves our trainers taking the service dog teams to various public venues. This phase of training helps to facilitate stability and confidence while interacting with the public. “We go out as a group and there are 15

Dogs4Vets is about more than training service dogs

BY CHRISTINA FUOCO-KARASINSKI Sound of Freedom Executive Editor

G

erad and Debbie Claseman started Dogs4Vets in 2005 with the goal of helping a few veterans a year. They wanted to offer service dog training at no cost. Generally, the cost is high to train a service dog, and it takes three to seven years to get a fully trained canine. Due to the overwhelming demand for service dogs, the Clasemans quickly found

30

Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

to 20 veterans out for breakfast,” she says. “What they don’t know is what’s under the table. Others don’t realize the dogs are there. I don’t know any other program that can do that. We don’t allow shock collars, and we


F E AT U R E

Veterans have relocated from across the country to attend the Dogs4Vets program. Most of the trainers are disabled veterans or family members of disabled veterans. (Photo courtesy Dogs4Vets)

have no age limit on the dog either.” The final phase of training focuses on teaching the dogs tasks that are specific to their owners. These tasks could include mobility assistance, retrieval skills and PTSD, such as depression, anxiety, hypervigilance and night terrors. Dogs4Vets is one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation. “It’s due to the nature of our organization, which is pretty amazing,” she says. “Ours isn’t all about training dogs. It’s about healing hearts, souls and families. The bonus is they get a professionally trained lifeline to help them. “We invite their family. We have parties and celebrations—before COVID. We send birthday cards. It’s an amazing healing program. We put holistic healing into it with meditation and mindfulness. It’s a safe haven. We’ve created a safe haven for them to come to every week with their dog and train. They form friendships and renew their souls to overcome their anxiety. PTSD is a horrible, horrible thing.” Dogs4Vets has two training centers, one in Gilbert and the other in tiny Pinedale. The facilities resemble a home and is a residence, respectively, which allows for training dogs in a real-world environment. The training center includes a full kitchen so they can train the veterans’ dogs to open and close a refrigerator door, a drawer or cabinet, or place items in a trash can. There are stairs, ramps and other obsta-

cles available to train the dogs to safely assist disabled veterans with mobility. A washer and dryer are available to teach dogs how to retrieve the laundry. Besides being a training center for service dogs, the facility also is a place for our veterans to feel safe. If they need to talk or a shoulder to lean on, one of our trained staff members will be there to listen. Veterans have relocated from across the country to attend the program. Most of our trainers are disabled veterans or family members of disabled veterans. “It takes a year and a half to two years to go through the program,” she says. “When they finish, they are legitimate service dogs. They learn now to call 911 and get medicine. They are valid lifelines.” Debbie says the inspiration for the program came from her husband, Gerad, who is a Vietnam-era Navy veteran. “We got the idea from him going to the VA hospital and such,” she says. “There’s not a lot of help for veterans in terms of recovering and transitioning into the real world. “They’re trying to find their new normal. Their dog has their back. There are a lot of folks out there who are providing dogs, especially rescues. To me, that’s a volatile situation, for obvious reasons. You don’t know the dog. What if it’s a breed they don’t

connect with? Our premise was to let them choose their own lifeline or buddy or dog they already have and work from there.” The next group of classes starts in January. The certification lasts a year, so veterans and their dogs must return to be retested. Before Dogs4Vets, Debbie taught early childhood education for a year. When they arrived at the idea of Dogs4Vets, Debbie earned a degree in animal behaviorism. She requires all of the trainers to study animal behaviorism and have a background in medical and disability. “When my husband retired, we took some time off and traveled,” she says. “We had this dream, and we took this dream and put it all together. It’s more than I thought it would be. I look at it as very rewarding, and what a gift.” Dogs4Vets 3249 S. Lindsay Road, Gilbert Mailing: P.O. Box 13525, Chandler, 85248 480-802-9339, info@dogs4vets.org, dogs4vets.org

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E D U C AT I O N

One-Stop Shop Community colleges ease the transition to civilian life BY JOHN HECKENLAIBLE

M

aking the move from active duty to civilian life can be challenging. At Glendale Community College, there is a focus on helping military personal get the education and training they need for a smooth transition. Recently discharged and retired military service personnel as well as their dependents often need to reassess how their skills will translate into the civilian workforce. Oftentimes they find that they need to get additional training and education to meet the needs of the workplace and prepare themselves for a secure future. The Veterans Services Center at Glendale Community College is standing by to help fulfill that mission. There are a number of questions that immediately come to mind as you map out your academic plans. Items such as, “What will it be like adjusting to college life?” “What should you study?” and “What type of school is the best fit for you?” There are several factors to consider when determining what to study. The first is what are you interested in—business, computer technology, health services, auto technology, education, etc. The second thing is researching job trends so you can align your interests with the workforce needs of the future. At Glendale

At Glendale Community College, the Veteran Services Center academic advisement team and career services team can assist prospective and current students in their self-assessment and their academic and career plans. (Photo courtesy Glendale Community College)

Community College, the Veteran Services Center academic advisement team and career services team can assist you in your self-assessment and help you with your academic and career plans. Determining the best type of school to attend can depend largely on your chosen field of study. Consider fully accredited schools with plenty of course offerings that will allow you to affordably explore options and take numerous classes in your chosen field of study. Glendale Commu-

nity College offers 41 associate degrees, 61 certificate programs, and a range of nondegree offerings across nine fields of interest. Once you’ve decided on one of the fields, the academic advisers will work with you to chart your academic track. The Glendale Community College Veteran Services Center is a one-stop shop for veterans who want to transition from military life to civilian life through higher education. The Veteran Services Center provides assistance in planning academic paths, identifying federal and state benefit options, certifying education benefits, guiding students through degree planning as well as class selection and registration.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 |

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Save Now On Home Security

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND PARTNERSHIP The City of El Mirage is proud of the steadfast relationship with our neighboring Luke Air Force Base.

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BASIC SYSTEM: $99 Parts and Install. 36-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $27.99 per month ($1,007.64). 24-Month Monitoring Agreement required at $27.99 per month ($671.76) for California. Offer applies to homeowners only. Offer valid for new ADT Authorized Premier Provider customers only and not on purchases from ADT LLC. Cannot be combined with any other offer. The $27.99 Offer does not include Quality Service Plan (QSP), ADT’s Extended Limited Warranty. GENERAL: For all offers, the form of payment must be by credit card or electronic charge to your checking or savings account, satisfactory credit history is required and termination fee applies. Certain packages require approved landline phone. Local permit fees may be required. Certain restrictions may apply. Additional monitoring fees required for some services. For example, Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Emergency Alert monitoring requires purchase and/or activation of an ADT security system with monitored Burglary, Fire, Carbon Monoxide and Emergency Alert devices and are an additional charge. Additional equipment may be purchased for an additional charge. Additional charges may apply in areas that require guard response service for municipal alarm verification. Prices subject to change. Prices may vary by market. Some insurance companies offer discounts on Homeowner’s Insurance. Please consult your insurance company. Photos are for illustrative purposes only and may not reflect the exact product/service actually provided. Licenses: AL-21-001104, AR-CMPY.0001725, AZ-ROC217517, CA-ACO6320, CT-ELC.0193944-L5, DC-EMS902653, DC-602516000016, DE-07-212, FLEC13003427, GA-LVA205395, IA-AS-0206, ID-ELE-SJ-39131, IL-127.001042, IN-C.P.D. Reg. No. – 19-08088, City of Indianapolis: LAC-000156, KY-City of Louisville: 483, LA-F1914, LA-F1915, LA-F1082, MA-1355C, MD-107-1626, ME-LM50017382, MI-3601205773, MN-TS01807, MO-City of St. Louis: CC#354, St. Louis County: 100194, MS15007958, MT-PSP-ELS-LIC-247, NC-25310-SP-FA/LV, NC-1622-CSA, NE-14451, NJ Burglar Alarm Lic. # -NJ-34BF00021800, NM-353366, NV-0068518, City of Las Vegas: 3000008296, NY-Licensed by the N.Y.S. Department of State UID#12000317691, NYS #12000286451, OH-53891446, City of Cincinnati: AC86, OK-AC1048, OR-170997, Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor Registration Number: PA022999, RI-3582, RI-7508, SC-BAC5630, SD- 1025-7001-ET, TN-1520, TX-B13734, ACR-3492, UT6422596-6501, VA-115120, VT-ES-2382(7C), WA-602588694/ECPROTEYH934RS, WI-City of Milwaukee: PAS-0002966, WV-WV042433, WY-LV-G-21499. 3750 Priority Way South Dr. Indianapolis, IN 46240 ©2020 DEFENDERS, Inc. dba Protect Your Home DF-CD-NP-Q420

LOCALS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME AT THE WIGWAM World-renowned The Wigwam, right here in your backyard, is home to three of the West Valley’s best dining destinations. Locals, guests, and visitors alike flock to Litchfield’s for the acclaimed Chef-driven farm-to-table culinary experience. For more casual fare, drop by Red’s Bar & Grill, famed for the Valley’s best burgers and a rotating selection of local craft beers, or treat yourself to a hand-crafted cocktail at the Wigwam Bar overlooking the resort’s Tower Pool. Whatever mood you’re in, having easy access to The Wigwam is just another great perk of calling the West Valley home.

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Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021


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NEWS

Award Winners Leadership from the 56th and 944th Fighter Wings, along with airmen from the 1K Maintenance Group, participate in a conference call with Barbara M. Barrett, secretary of the Air Force, as she congratulated the team for winning the 2020 Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Award in the large category at Luke Air Force Base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Monique Roux)

Luke reinforces TFI with DoD-level maintenance prize BY MASTER SGT. LOUIS VEGA 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

T

otal Force Integration across the U.S. Air Force continues to prove its effectiveness as active-duty and reserve citizen airmen successfully demonstrate its potential. The 56th and 944th Fighter Wings’ maintenance groups, referred to as the 1K Maintenance Group at Luke Air Force Base, will be recipients of the 2020 Secretary of Defense Field-level Maintenance Award in the large category. “This is the best TFI organization I have ever had the privilege to be a part of,” says Brig. Gen. Gregory Kreuder, 56th FW commander, during a conference call with the Barbara M. Barrett, secretary of the Air Force, as she congratulated the team. “I would offer up the 944th and 56th as a template for others that want to know what

36

‘right’ looks like. I couldn’t be more proud of the 1K maintenance team, and it’s a real honor for them to get the recognition at this level.” Barrett is serving as the 25th secretary of the Air Force and is an instrument-rated pilot trained and certified for space flight. She earned degrees at Arizona State University and is honorary commander alumni at Luke. “I guess that when you add it up, you’re ‘batting a thousand,’” says Barrett, referring to the 1K MXG title. “I am proud of my past association, and I am thrilled to know the recognition is coming your way from the full department. To be the recipient of this award is really a great statement of the constant excellence, the constant vigilance and the constant performance that your two teams combine to do.” In the collective efforts to write the maintenance award package for consideration, Senior Master Sgt. Anthony Abney, 944th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Tactical

Sound of Freedom | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021

Aircraft Maintenance section chief, and a small team of reserve and active-duty TFI partners worked together to prepare the package. “The 56th could have sent in a package by themselves,” says Abney. “We chose to do it as a TFI. So, winning is even bigger because it shows how much of a force we are.” Maintenance teams throughout the world, in all services, competed; and a total of six field-level Secretary of Defense Maintenance Award recipients were selected in three categories—large, medium and small. The best of the best will be selected from the six field-level award winners and presented the Phoenix Trophy. All awards will be presented on January 13 at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. “This is a rare and commendable accomplishment,” says Col. Jim Greenwald, 944th FW commander. “My hat’s off to the entire 1K maintenance team. For our team to rise to the level that they beat out the other services—the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps—that is an incredible accomplishment. To have the secretary of the Air Force call us to say congratulations is something I have never experienced. This is a testament to the strengths of TFI.” Total Force Integration, which was launched in the late 1990s, refers to a blending of active, guard and reserve personnel and equipment to gain efficiency and effectiveness in support of the overall Air Force mission.


ÂŽ

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Empowering Diasabled American Veterans to lead fuller lives with the aid of Service Dogs

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EVENTS

The “World War II: The Home Front” program will focus on the manufacturing victory of the war at 1 p.m. January 9 at the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona Museum at Falcoln Field. (Submitted image)

The Other Heroes of WWII Airbase Arizona presents program on the manufacturing victory BY BILL QUEHRN Airbase Arizona Museum Docent

E

very Veterans Day—as we should every day—we honor our military heroes who have sacrificed to keep us free. But there were other heroes in World War II who also deserve to be honored. That’s the subject of a program to be presented on January 9 at the Commemorative Air Force Airbase Arizona Museum at Falcon Field. They are the American workers who won what President Roosevelt called the Manufacturing Victory that helped the United States and our allies win the war. In a nation as deeply divided as we are today, it can be difficult to understand or appreciate the willingness of Americans to sacrifice and achieve for a common cause as our World War II homefront heroes. But sacrifice they did, and their achievements fully lived up to the title they earned: the Greatest Generation. The program at Airbase Arizona is titled “World War II: The Home Front.” Like any account of that era, it can only focus on something like a single grain in a trainload of rice. That said, each story in the program weaves into the tapestry of the monumental accomplishments of this group of heroes. Growing up in the eco-

nomically devastated years of the Great Depression, the Greatest Generation turned the United States into a production colossus that armed, fed and cared for a world at war. Almost overnight, the national economy had to be transformed from a peacetime recovery pace to a wartime engine driving toward what President Roosevelt urged the nation to become—the Arsenal of Democracy. One such story is represented on the museum floor by an Avenger TBM torpedo bomber. The “M” indicates the Grumman Aircraft plane was actually built by General Motors. GM turned car plants in New Jersey and elsewhere into airplane manufacturing facilities with blistering speed. It meant totally stripping and re-equipping the factories and then learning to build machines that fly rather than run on roads. It also meant finding people to train to build airplanes. With so many men called to serve, GM and other companies hired women, minorities, men who were considered essential and excused from service—essentially anyone who could do the work. With all that to overcome, GM turned out its first flying Avenger in just 11 months and one year later had produced over 1,000 of the vitally important U.S. Navy bombers.

Beyond that, the program describes how Greatest Generation workers were saddled with rationing of many goods and other limits on what they could buy, even though many were making good money working in defense plants—48-hour weeks in many plants. They were called to save, or what today we call recycle, everything from car tires to kitchen fat. They were heavily pressured to buy war bonds to finance the war, all the while living in dread of the knock on their door delivering a telegram informing them of the loss of a loved one. The program at Airbase Arizona will be held in the newly redesigned Mission Briefing Room at 1 p.m. The Avenger on the museum floor is one of over a dozen historic warplanes, including our B-17 bomber. If it isn’t flying that day, guests can climb aboard and walk through this iconic aircraft. The museum walls are lined with hundreds of artifacts from WWI to the Vietnam era. Admission to the museum is $15 for adults, less for seniors and children, and free for active-duty military. Seating for the program is limited and firstcome, first-served. If nothing else, “World War II: The Home Front” will certainly give you a different look at America in the 1940s.

JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2021 |

Sound of Freedom

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