SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas – After years of planning and months of construction, a true cooperative partnership to reimagine the front door to the home of the Air Force’s combat capability was commemorated April 2, 2021, during a ceremony here.
The nearly $9 million Main Gate project was the result of local, state and federal dollars working together to provide a remarkable first impression to the Air Force’s largest and most diverse technical and pilot training installation. Representatives from the three levels of government as well as base and civic leaders were on hand to recognize and celebrate the unique and monumental effort.
The multi-year project was more than just creating dazzling curb appeal, though. The venture was the culmination of two projects: the first to remove a public eyesore and security threat to the installation in the way of a motel and hotel adjacent to the installation, and the second to rebuild the Main Gate entrance. Both enhanced installation security and force protection.
Brig. Gen. Kenyon Bell, 82nd Training Wing and installation commander, said that while the project started under different Sheppard leadership years ago, he is proud to be the “clean-up guy” to see the beautification and force protection undertaking come to fruition.
“When you talk about that security risk – and my wife, Lori, will attest – I normally don’t have any problems falling asleep at night. I put my head on my pillow and I’m out,” he said. “But when you think about what used to be over here (off base) and what we have behind this fence line and what we train, that will make someone lose some sleep at night. So, I’m especially thankful for the security upgrades you’ve given us.”
Read the full story.
WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls Chamber is excited to announce they are now designated as a regional Military Spouse Economic Empowerment Zone!
After establishing a relationship with Hiring Our Heroes and creating the Military Spouse Professional Network for Sheppard Air Force Base, their goal is to help connect military spouses as they move to the area and help them with their professional networking.
Moving forward with their success and work over the last year and a half, they will officially receive their regional designation and are inviting the community to celebrate!
Read the full story here.
Continue the advocacy work led by the Sheppard Military Affairs Committee (SMAC)
• Continue to support the work of SMAC and ensure that it is adequately resourced and supported
• Continue to work with all relevant partners to implement recommendations from the Sheppard Air Force Base Joint Land Use Study (JLUS)
Advance the development of a strategic plan for mission sustainability
• Fully support SMAC’s mission sustainability preparedness planning process and position all relevant partners to quickly adopt recommendations as needed
• As discussed in Tactical Recommendation 3.7, maintain strong relationships with Wichita Falls’ federal legislative delegation to sustain and grow SAFB
• Because many tasks may not need to be activated unless and until a future BRAC round is triggered in the future, work with SMAC, the Chamber, and other partners to ensure that new elected officials and other leaders who move into their roles in the coming years are briefed on planning activities and strategic needs
Increase community awareness about advocacy and planning efforts
• Work with partners such as the Chamber and others to leverage local communications channels in order to increase community awareness about advocacy efforts, issue needed calls to action, and recognize and celebrate SAFB
• In partnership with the Chamber, SMAC, and SAFB, create a community liaison program to educate and inform community business leaders about the SAFB mission and to strengthen ties between the base and local public and private leaders
Connect military personnel, families, and veterans to job and community engagement opportunities
• Convene representatives from the business community and SAFB to develop a program to connect trailing SAFB spouses/partners with employment opportunities; could include a resume-matching service
• Develop an attractive, user-friendly website with information about community programs, youth sports leagues, parks, utilities, religious organizations, etc. in Wichita Falls; if desired, this website could be designed to appeal to a broad audience with a special section of content for military families
• Work with base leadership to evaluate the feasibility of a survey of military personnel, veterans, retirees, spouses/partners, and others to determine further opportunities for engagement
Strengthen physical connections between Sheppard Air Force Base and the Wichita Falls Community
• Work with SAFB leadership, the City of Wichita Falls, and other key stakeholders to enhance connectivity between the base and the community for Airmen, other personnel, and their families
• Work with all relevant stakeholders to connect SAFB to the community’s growing network of bicycle infrastructure (see Tactical Recommendation 7.2)
• Evaluate options to further leverage the Sheppard Main Gate Transit facility; this could entail subsidized rideshares and/or additional fixed-route transit to Downtown Wichita Falls to complement service to the Sikes Center Mall