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Civilian Leaders See US Air Forces in Europe Capabilities

Awing The Misters

Civilian leaders participating in the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference got a firsthand — and sometimes hands-on — look Tuesday at how US Air Forces in Europe supports the war on terror.

About 50 business, academic and local government leaders from throughout the United States sat in the cockpits of F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters and climbed aboard KC-135 Stratotankers, A-10 Thunderbolt "Warthogs" and C-130 Hercules troop transports at the airbase in Ramstein, Germany.

The civilian leaders watched demonstrations of how airmen palletize loads for transport, and some tried their hand at securing them within aircraft. Later, following a briefing on US European Command by Gen. Charles F. Wald, the command's deputy commander, they watched the 86th Contingency Response Group conduct an "engine-running offload" similar to the one used to open the Bashur Air Base in northern Iraq.

Air Force Gen. Robert H. "Doc" Foglesong, USAFE commander, called the chance to host "shakers and movers" from throughout the United States an invaluable opportunity. "They carry our message for us wherever they go more effectively than anybody I know," he said. "I never miss the opportunity to share the exciting work we do with very influential citizens who leave here and spread the word to their communities about the wonderful things our men and women in uniform are doing."

Richard Roper, president of the Roper Group, a public policy consulting firm in Newark, N.J., said he had expected that the US military presence in Europe would be "sophisticated and first class." What he wasn't expecting, he said, was the quality of the leadership he observed during his visit to Ramstein.

"It's obvious that they're articulate and thoughtful and committed," he said. "It gives you a great deal of confront about what the military should be able to accomplish anywhere in the world."

"I'm really impressed with the professionalism I've seen — not just the officers, but the young enlisted guys, too," agreed Bob Irish, managing partner for Dynamic Results in Dallas. "They know their stuff, and you can see that they love what they do."

(ANN salutes Donna Miles, American Forces Press Service)

FMI: www.af.mil

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