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News > Commander holds series of calls for Luke Airmen
Commander holds series of calls for Luke Airmen

Posted 10/7/2011   Updated 10/7/2011 Email story   Print story

    


by Airman 1st Class David Owsianka
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


10/7/2011 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Brig. Gen. JD Harris Jr., 56th Fighter Wing commander, talked about DUIs, underage drinking and club membership at a commander's call presented Sept. 29 and 30 at the Luke Air Force Base Fitness Center gym. He also covered high-risk activities, fitness, the F-16 move, F-35s, the Iraqi drawdown, customs and courtesies and professional military education.

When Harris first arrived here he made it clear that he wanted to reduce the amount of driving under the influence and underage drinking incidents.

Over the past nine months Luke has gone from one to two incidents a week to averaging one a month.

"We are doing a great job with taking better care of our teammates both on and off base, and for that I thank each and every one of you for our improvement," Harris said.

Airmen who are 26 years old and younger are considered to be in a high-risk category; mostly because people in that age bracket still feel bullet proof and it doesn't take as long to heal, he said.

According to Harris, he feels that Luke is leading the pack in fitness because it's a great place to exercise about 10 months out of the year.

"Our wings goals haven't changed; I want to have a 100 percent pass rate with half scoring an excellent," he said. "And if we have failures, I want somebody to score an outstanding."

The F-16 move to Holloman AFB, N.M., has been delayed a year to April 2013.
"It's about 15 to 20 months before we start to move," Harris said. "The Airmen who have been here the longest may be the ones moving there. The Air Force may also bring Airmen from other bases for the move."

There still hasn't been a decision on Luke becoming a training base for the F-35s.
"I'm confident that Luke is in the mix for the F-35 program," Harris said. "I don't think there is any other base that can take six to seven training squadrons."

According to Harris, even though we are drawing down in Iraq, our training mission will continue.

"It sounds like we're going to sell an F-16 squadron of roughly 18 planes to the Iraqi government to augment their air force," he said. "I fully expect Luke's Airmen to continue to deploy to train them and continue with the mission we have."

Before opening the floor to questions, Harris talked about the importance of PME.
PME is progressive levels of military education that prepares military officers for leadership and educates enlisted members to be effective leaders, supervisors and managers.

"It's important at all levels for Airmen to complete their PME because it prepares Airmen for leadership responsibilities," Harris said.

Airmen asked Harris questions that covered various topics such as deployments, PT test, budget cuts and bystander training.

Harris also explained the importance of being an active club member.

"Even though we have done better in the past six months with membership, our club is still struggling,"

Harris said. "I want Airmen to realize how much the club benefits us for unit functions and promotion ceremonies, and other activities, and that the club might go away in years to come if we don't support it."

"As Airmen we need to be cognizant of what is going on with our work force," Harris said. "With there being fewer civilian and contract employees, those in uniform will have to do more. I'm proud of the work you're doing and to be on the same team as you."



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