2014 Open House: Importance of civic outreach

  • Published
  • By Col. Andrew Croft
  • 49th Wing commander
The May 2014 Open House at Holloman is a great opportunity for us to thank our local community and showcase the Air Force and our Airmen for a day. Although fiscal uncertainties in 2013 forced us to cancel our 2013 Community Day at the last moment, our Open House planned for May 10 is on track.

Our emphasis will be on military demonstrations, military capabilities and historical 49th Wing missions. This year we will feature the F-22 Raptor Demonstration team and displays of Holloman's current capabilities, equipment and people. We also hope to feature heritage flights with several World War II-era aircraft and static displays of various other U.S. Air Force aircraft, and we will announce these specific details as soon as they become available. There will be activities for both kids and adults and will also include demonstrations by German Air Force Tornados and our Remotely Piloted Aircraft. Kids will certainly enjoy all of the heavy construction equipment, robots and the military working dogs and weapons utilized by our base defenders.

I would like to thank the City of Alamogordo, community leaders and our Tularosa Basin friends for all of their support of our Airmen at Holloman over the last 72 years. Holloman continues to offer unique military capabilities, from the Holloman High Speed Test Track to being the U.S. Air Force's sole source of Remotely Piloted Aircraft pilot and sensor operator training. The major shift from an F-22 operational base to an F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot training base will be in full swing during our May 10th Open House. For the first time in the aircraft's 35-year history, the F-16 will be based here. Come out and see the first of the 50 F-16s that will make up Holloman's fleet and will fly in our local airspace for the next 20+ years.

Other unique displays will demonstrate what our Airmen here at Holloman do around the world on their continuous deployments. At any one time, 300-500 of our Fighting 49ers are deployed to various locations worldwide. Our Basic Expeditionary Airfield Resources (BEAR) Base Airmen travel to remote locations to establish airfields from austere locations. Holloman is the only base in the Air Force to possess this capability, with over 11,000 tons of equipment ready to deploy at a moment's notice. Additionally, our civil engineers, security forces and explosive ordnance disposal teams consistently deploy to support combat operations. And, finally, our RPA maintenance personnel deploy to support combat flying operations worldwide.

As American citizens, we have all paid for the outstanding equipment and personnel that continue to make our military the best in the world. It is right, therefore, that we share those capabilities with you. Please come out and join us for a free day of entertainment, education and friendship. We will have food and beverages, an outstanding performance from F-22s, the world's most capable fighter aircraft, and demonstrations of Holloman's unique capabilities throughout the day. We look forward to seeing you at Holloman on May 10. So remember, Combat Airpower Starts Here!