By Airman 1st Class Patrick Sullivan
Spouses and community members participated in a 3rd Wing immersion tour at JBER, Alaska, Aug. 31.
The 3rd Wing’s mission is to provide air dominance, global mobility, and command and control for Combatant Commanders. While a critical mission, many spouses of 3rd Wing members don’t know exactly what it is their significant other does to support it.
U.S. Air Force Col. Travolis Simmons, the 3rd Wing commander, hosted the immersion tour as the spouses visited several units across the wing and delved into what each unit does to support the greater mission.
“Spouses do a lot for our military members and most of them don’t quite know what their significant other does on a daily basis, or what we do as a Wing,” said Simmons.
The intent behind this event was to showcase our mission objectives here at JBER and how we make it happen. There are a lot of moving pieces to make our mission successful that nobody sees. We wanted to make sure we showcased some of the details behind some of those moving pieces.”
The tour began at the hush house, a noise-suppressed facility designed to test aircraft systems. Wearing the required double ear protection, the group lined up alongside a mounted F-22 Raptor engine as it ran on full afterburner.
The group then moved on to the Air Traffic Control tower where they were able to see F-22 Raptors and a C-130 Hercules takeoff and land from the tower’s elevated vantage point. As the team admired the unique view, they received a briefing on the duties and capabilities of the ATC team.
The team then climbed down the tower to the hangars where they received a hands-on tour of the E-3 Sentry and C-12F Huron, alongside detailed briefs from the crews of these aircraft, familiarizing the spouses with the unique mission of the aircraft.
The 3rd Wing spouses were also met by an aircrew flight equipment Airmen, who showcased all of the necessary equipment provided to pilots to help them safely accomplish their mission. Col. Simmons was able to provide valuable insights and answer questions on the matter as a pilot himself.
Representatives from the 3rd Munitions Squadron then demonstrated their bomb-building capabilities for the team. While 3rd MUNS Airmen primarily build armaments for the F-22 Raptors on the installation, they work with 11 different bombs and variants.
The spouses wrapped up their tour with the 90th Fighter Squadron, where they visited a combat alert cell and received an up-close and personal tour of an F-22 Raptor.
Vanessa Martin, a participant on the tour, said it was “An awesome experience and something that I definitely think should be continued.”
The 3rd Wing plans to continue the immersion tours in the future, providing the opportunity for key spouses from units across the wing to come out to the flightline and experience the day-to-day life of their significant others.