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Oklahoma ACES team experiences Altus’ mobility airpower firsthand

ACES tour Altus AFB.

U.S. Air Force Col. Jack Flynt III, the 97th Operations Group commander, leads the Aerospace Commerce Economic Services team for the Oklahoma Department of Commerce on a tour of Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma on October 7, 2020. Aerospace and defense is the second-largest and fastest-growing industry sector in Oklahoma. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Breanna Klemm)

ACES tour Altus AFB.

Geoff Camp, the Oklahoma aerospace and defense state director, takes a photo in the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III during a tour on October 7, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. During the ACES tour, they received the opportunity to fly a low-level mission on a C-17 over wind farms in Oklahoma and Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Breanna Klemm)

ACES tour Altus AFB.

Leaders from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) board a C-17 Globemaster III before a flight on October 7, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. ACES is a program with resources dedicated to developing and growing the state’s aerospace industry. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Breanna Klemm)

ACES tour Altus AFB.

Leaders from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) program are briefed by C-17 Globemaster III instructor pilots assigned to the 58th Airlift Squadron before a flight on October 7, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. During the tour, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce ACES team received the opportunity to fly on a C-17. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Breanna Klemm)

ACES tour Altus AFB.

Leshia Pearson, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) manager sits in the cockpit of a C-17 Globemaster III on October 7, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. Pearson is responsible for managing the daily activities of the ACES program including economic and workforce development, education and training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Breanna Klemm)

ACES tour Altus AFB.

Leaders from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Aerospace Commerce Economic Services (ACES) walk through a KC-46 Pegasus on October 7, 2020, at Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma. During their tour, the ACES team received the opportunity to tour the Air Force’s newest weapons system, the KC-46. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Breanna Klemm)

ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

U.S. Air Force Col. Matthew Leard, the 97th AMW commander, Col. Jason Pavelschak, the 97th AMW vice commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Randy Kay II, the 97th AMW command chief  welcomed members of the Oklahoma Department of Commerce Aerospace and Defense, and Aerospace Commerce and Economic Services to Altus Air Force Base, Oklahoma, on October 7, 2020.

ACES is a state program with resources dedicated to developing and growing the state’s aerospace industry. The purpose of the tour was to teach and share the mission of the 97th Air Mobility Wing to the ACES team to help build relationships in and out of the community.

The members of the tour included Geoff Camp, the Aerospace and Defense state director, Donald Wetekam, the ACES program director, Leshia Pearson, the ACES program manager, Ryan Tillison, the ACES program recruiter, and Eddie Compton, the Aerospace and Defense Industry liaison.

“The ACES team’s purpose is to foster growth and expansion of Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industry,” said Pearson. “The five military bases and seven national guard units [in Oklahoma] are an integral part of that industry. Our team toured the base to meet the leadership team, hear the mission and goals, and identify any areas we can provide assistance or support.”

Following a brief on the wings mission of how "We Train Exceptional Mobility Airmen," the ACES team received the opportunity to fly on a C-17 Globemaster III and experience a low-level mission over wind-farms in southern Oklahoma and northern Texas.

“The low-level training flight gave us first-hand experience of the challenges of wind turbine interference within military training areas,” said Camp. “While we are aware of this challenge and are actively working to ensure future turbine fields do not crowd MTA’s, seeing this issue first hand is invaluable to our efforts.”

As a way to continue learning about the mission of Mobility’s Hometown, the group was also provided with a tour of a KC-46 Pegasus and an in-depth look at the 97th Maintenance Group.

“To be effective in serving the state, the ACES team needs to have a clear understanding of the capabilities, challenges and needs of all of Oklahoma’s aerospace entities,” said Wetekam. “Altus AFB is not only crucial to our nation’s defense, but it’s a strategic piece of Oklahoma’s aerospace network. We wanted to find out as much as we could about what Altus brings to the table and how we might be able to assist. In that regard, I’d say the visit was 100 percent successful.”

ALTUS AFB FLICKR ALBUMS

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Altus AFB Flickr Albums