McConnell civic leaders visit Nellis AFB

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Abigail Klein
  • 931st Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Twenty civic leaders from Wichita and its surrounding communities boarded a McConnell KC-135 Stratotanker June 20 for Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to get an up-close look at the “Home of the Fighter Pilot,” and the 99th Air Base Wing.

Before arriving at Nellis, the civics witnessed an aerial refueling for B-52 Stratofortresses from Barksdale, La. For Megan Lovely, City of Wichita Communications and Special Events manager, it was her first civic leader tour and her first time witnessing the essential mission Team McConnell Airmen provide worldwide every day.

“The KC-135 refueling was amazing,” said Lovely. “Just to see them working and to watch how exact and precise and challenging their job is gave me a better understanding of what they go through every single day.”

The two-day event also included briefings from the active duty 99 ABW and 57th Wing and the Reserve 926th Wing. The civic leaders also toured the Threat Training Facility, the Thunderbirds Hangar, the 66th Rescue Squadron and an F-15C Eagle Static.

While touring the F-15 static, civic leaders chatted with the maintainers of the 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, which included Tech. Sgt. Josh Lake, a Derby, Kan., native. Lake spoke with Randy White, the Derby Mayor, one of the civic leaders, and Col. Mark S. Larson, 931st Air Refueling Wing commander, about his ties to the community and his 17 years in the Air Force.

Another Kansas reunion also occurred between Kathy Bond, 22nd Operations Support Squadron Honorary commander, and her son, Airman 1st Class Michael Bond, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron maintainer, who was stationed at Nellis this past year.

“It was outstanding and surreal to see my son on the flightline in his uniform blending in with all these Airmen and NCOs,” Bond said. “I just think it’s amazing the Air Force allowed the opportunity for me to see this.”

As the tour came to an end, the 926 WG commander, Col. Ross Anderson, thanked everyone for visiting and for their support of Nellis, McConnell and the Air Force as a whole.

The civic leader program establishes positive relationships between Air Force leaders and leaders within the civilian community in order to maximize opportunities to share the Air Force story, people and mission. Inviting McConnell’s civic leaders to tour Nellis was a way to increase public awareness of Air Force missions, policies and programs.