Sponsorship vital to incoming Fighter Country Airmen

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- You have just arrived at the airport after a long flight. After picking up your three bags of luggage, you search the airport for a familiar face to meet you. There's no one there. 

Has this ever happened to you? Would you want it to happen to anyone else? 

Luke Air Force Base can be challenging for people new to the Phoenix area due to its size, the hot climate and freeways. 

Providing proactive assistance to newcomers and their families and paving the way for a smooth transition from losing to gaining installations, are the goals of the sponsorship program at Luke. 

Each new member to Luke is assigned a sponsor before they leave their losing base. 

"Effective sponsorship initiates the mission-ready process before a member departs their losing base," said Sandy Whitaker, 56th Mission Support Squadron Airmen and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant. "The program helps ensure that newly assigned personnel are ready to dedicate their full attention to unit mission accomplishment, to be mission ready at the earliest possible time." 

To help sponsors with this effort, a Luke Form 276, Sponsor Contact Form, will be provided upon assignment of an inbound member by the squadron orderly room. This form is not available online. The sponsor reviews each of the areas on the form with the inbound Airman to make sure all needs are addressed. 

This form also refers to family concerns and will provide the AFRC staff with all of the information needed to prepare the best possible customized sponsorship package for the individual and family. AETC Instruction 36-2104 requires all inbounds to be contacted within 10 duty days of notification. 

Including initial and refresher training, 653 Thunderbolts attended sponsorship training in 2006, said Ms. Whitaker. 

"Although, we do have numerous on-base resources available to assist our military and civilian members, as well as a wealth of information for the numerous communities that surround Luke, we are always looking for ways to improve our processes. Things change so quickly, we have to stay on top of them all," said Ms. Whitaker. 

The sponsor package includes magazines or newspapers for the base and the local community, listing of frequently used phone numbers and points of contact here on base a base guide and telephone directory and a personalized welcome letter from AFRC and the unit to which the member is assigned and any additional information the member may request. 

The package also provides detailed information about services and processes that will assist with the relocation of the individual and/or family. The package is customized based on the information provided on the Luke Form 276. 

It also includes information on housing availability and cost, transporting pets, crime rates, vehicle insurance and registration information, child care availability and programs and spouse employment. 

To request an electronic version of Luke Form 276, E-mail 56mss.dpf@luke.af.mil. For more information on Luke's sponsorship program, call the AFRC at (623) 856-6362.