Yokota Air Base, Japan --
Twenty-four civic leaders and Gen. Stephen W. Wilson, U.S. Air Force vice chief of staff, visited Yokota Air Base, April 26, 2018, as part of a Pacific Air Forces Area of Responsibility tour to discuss the best possible practices of supporting Airmen while stationed abroad and highlighting that the Air Force remains integral to all elements of national security. The group also visited Joint-Base Pearl Harbor Hickam, Hawaii and Kunsan Air Base, South Korea and will visit Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, and Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
The tour aims to demonstrate why modernization is vital in countering potential future threats; communicate why and how today's budget forces tradeoffs between readiness and modernization and how this could pose a threat to U.S. national security; and explain how capabilities degrade over time if modernization is not properly funded.
The civic leaders started their tour of Yokota Air Base with an airlift drop out of a C-130J over the Yokota AB airfield. From there, the civic leaders received a mission brief, a mechanized materials handling system demonstration, a UH-1N Iroquois flight, a Fire Department burn pit demo and an En Route Patient Staging System demo.
“It was phenomenal being able to see and experience firsthand what the Airmen of this base do on a day-to-day basis,” said David Nesbett, U.S. Air Force chief of staff civic leader. “Any time we get the chance to spend time with Airmen we feel energized, proud and are reminded on how focused the Airmen are towards their mission, all while giving us a sense of security.
“Things with the Airmen don’t just stop at the base for us. We’re inspired when we go home to advocate more powerfully on their behalf.”
The Air Force civic leaders are unpaid advisors, key communicators and advocates for Air Force issues. They also provide timely, pertinent information on subjects of general Air Force interest, especially subjects which have particular application in a civic leader’s local area.
“Having the civic leaders here is a great opportunity for us to showcase our talented Airmen as we demonstrate what we do on a daily basis to complete our mission,” said Chief Master Sgt. Elvin L. Young, 374th Airlift Wing command chief. “For the civic leaders to actually see our Airmen in action, it gave them a different sense of pride as they saw and gained a better understanding of what we do. This enables them to go home and inform the necessary people about the importance of us being here and why it’s important for us to have the essential equipment and Airmen that are needed to complete our mission.”
Having the civic leaders receive a firsthand view of Yokota’s mission allows them to explain and interpret Air Force programs, positions, and problems to other key, local communicators through personal contact and correspondence, and to the general public through statements, appearances and speeches.
“It’s absolutely critical and vital for us to interact with the Airmen and fully understand what they are going through, and it is very important for us to be here,” Nesbett said. “We are advocates on behalf of the Air Force, and we help facilitate those relationships we’ve built at the local and congressional levels. To see and experience is to know, and it makes how we advocate much more effective because we are able to know firsthand what our Airmen are going through which allows us to go home and fight with more passion on their behalf.”