Georgia Air Force Base Struts Its Stuff for Civilian Leaders
By Terri Lukach
American Forces Press Service
MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga., April 27, 2005 Moody Air Force Base, home of the 347th Rescue Wing and the only active duty combat-search-and-rescue wing in the U.S. Air Force, pulled out all stops April 26 for a visiting group of civic leaders.
Nicole de Lara Valdes, participant in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference, gets instructions on a flight simulator from Air Force 1st Lt. Luke Lucero, an instructor pilot with the 3rd Flight Training Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., April 26. The JCOC group visited the base to witness firsthand the capabilities of today's Air Force as part of its weeklong, multiservice orientation program, hosted by the secretary of defense, for civilian public opinion leaders to get a better knowledge of national defense issues. Photo by Tech. Sgt. Scott F. Reed, USAF
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Joint Civilian Orientation Conference is a weeklong tour of military installations for top civic and community leaders from across the United States. The tour highlights the latest U.S. military equipment and technology and acquaints civilian leaders with the missions and personnel of America's armed forces.
At Moody, JCOC participants not only learned firsthand about some of the most advanced air-power platforms in the world by the men and women who operate them, but were able to see and participate in demonstrations of their power and capabilities.
Moody's training programs take raw recruits and set them on a path to flying some of the most advanced warplanes in America's arsenal. The base is also home to Air Force Special Operations Command, which is responsible for the readiness of Air Force special operations forces deployed worldwide.
The day began with a demonstration of the speed and agility of the Air Force's primary flight trainer, the T-6A Texan II. To the driving beat of rock music and DJ-styled Air Force announcer 1st Lt. Mike Gosma -- the "Voice of the Texan II" -- JCOC participants watched in awe as the plane swooped, dived and executed precision 360-degree barrel rolls just minutes after takeoff.
The Texan II can climb to 18,000 feet in less than six minutes and land in less than 2,000 feet of runway. It is also a highly efficient aircraft that can fly more than 800 miles on one tank of fuel. The feature is a great aid to training student pilots, as the ability to repeat maneuvers over and over is crucial in the training arena, Gosma said.
He also noted the aircraft's avionics are state-of-the-art. More than 200 new Air Force pilots are trained each year at Moody, officials said. After the Texan II, pilots continue to train on more demanding aircraft such as the T-38 Talon, the T-1A Jayhawk, the UH-1 Huey helicopter, and the T-44 Pegasus, which is flown in joint training with the Navy.
The air show, performed by the East Coast Demonstration Team, was designed to give the JCOC participants some insight into the capabilities of the T-6A as well as the maneuvers all students learn in pilot training.
"The responsiveness, simplicity, endurance and cockpit comfort of the Texan II enables it to do its job efficiently and effectively," Gosma said, "giving our country the most respected military pilots in the world. It is a superb training platform."
In addition to the heart-pumping air show performance, JCOC participants got to see and inspect some other stars in the Air Force inventory, including many that are winning the war on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On display at the airfield were a B-2 Spirit and B-1B Lancer, both bombers; an F/A-22 Raptor, the Air Force's newest aircraft and the first stealth, supersonic fighter in the world; F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets; an AC-130 gunship and A-10 Thunderbolt II, both used for close-air support of ground forces; and an E-3 Sentry airborne warning and control system aircraft. Some, like the B-1, were flown in especially for the JCOC visit.
Later in the day, JCOC participants scrambled into open vehicles for a true-to-life demonstration that eerily echoed the daily news. As the convoy slowed down to contend with a vehicle stopped in the road -- a common tactic used by insurgents in Iraq -- the "enemy" took advantage and initiated an attack detonating two improvised explosive devices, followed by small-arms fire.
Security forces immediately engaged and suppressed the enemy while another security vehicle positioned itself to become a "sweeping element" to clear and destroy the enemy. Other vehicles deployed to secure the non-attack side of the area, while troops deployed brightly colored smoke to conceal their movements as the area was swept for other insurgents. Five "enemy combatants" were killed, several wounded, and two captured in the simulated attack.
Another demonstration involving special operations forces simulated the seizure of a strategic airfield in enemy territory. Complicating the mission was a small enemy force in the vicinity of the targeted airfield.
The simulation included impressive maneuvers involving an MC-130 Combat Talon II aircraft, which is used for special operations missions; an MH-53 Pave Low helicopter; and an F-15; as well as a quick-reaction special operations unit, combat controllers, pararescuemen, air refueling, and other demonstrations of Air Force weapons systems and capabilities.
"Way up on the 'wow meter,'" was the way JCOC participant William Young put it.