DUKE FIELD, Fla. — Community leaders with the Air Force Reserve Command’s civic leader advisory group visited Duke Field April 28 to learn more about the specialized missions and capabilities performed by Airmen in the wing.
“We are Citizen Air Commandos and our wing is composed of Reservists who are working in the civilian community as well as in the military,” said Col. Michael Lowe, 919th Special Operations Wing vice commander. “We are the only special operations wing in the Reserve and also the only Reserve wing in Air Force Special Operations Command, so there is a unique relationship we want to tell civic leaders.”
The civic leaders and AFRC staff, including Maj. Gen. Jay Jenson, Special Assistant to the Commander, representing Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, stopped at Duke Field after visiting multiple AFRC units to gain a deeper understanding of the role Reserve members play in their respective communities.
During their visit, Lowe and 919th SOW leadership told the group about the wing’s mission and contributions around the globe.
“It’s always uplifting, the exchanges we get with both civic leaders here and around the nation,” said Lowe. “I love to brag about what our Airmen do.”
Reservists from the 919th Special Operations Security Forces Squadron provided an overview of the MRZR all-terrain vehicle and the special capabilities with the security forces squadron and members from two of the flying squadrons explained their missions while providing a tour of the C-146A Wolfhound, C-208 Caravan and C-145A Skytruck.
“I never knew what Reserve members did here or that these services existed to support teams on the ground and across the world,” said Larysa Kautz, President and CEO of Melwood and honorary commander for the 459th Air Refueling Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland. “It’s amazing how much Duke and Hurlburt Field do here and the people are phenomenal from the language abilities and over-arching abilities to teach foreign countries how to fly and maintain aircraft is incredible.”
Kautz is a leading employer and advocate for people with disabilities and has 20 years of experience in law, business, advocacy, and nonprofit management. Her initiative is to expand the field of employment for people with disabilities and create a more inclusive workplace for her local community.
“The visit was extremely informative, it was wonderful meeting all the leadership, and I was very impressed by the briefing,” said Tim Kelley, owner, Blue Sky Exhibits. “I have an affinity to the military, I have never served and this is my way of giving back to make sure Reserve members receive what they need.”
Kelley has been avidly involved in many creative marketing roles within the tradeshow industry. As a civic leader, he advocates for the needs of citizen airmen, more specifically, the 22nd Air Force and the 94th Airlift Wing, which are in his local area.
The group received a catered lunch along with the opportunity to take home some 919th SOW swag–T-shirts and coins unique to the wing.
“We are both working in each other’s environments, so it is important for employers to see where their services help support Reservists and the mission,” said Lowe. “It’s really about how we contribute to each other.”
Published April 29, 2022
By Michelle Gigante
919th Special Operations Wing
Melwood is one of the largest employers of people with disabilities in the country, employing more than 1,600 workers – nearly 1,000 of whom are people with disabilities. Melwood offers job placement, job training, life skills for independence, and support services to more than 2,500 people each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Melwood also has an inclusive summer camp program for children and provides employment and support services to veterans and active-duty military members who have experienced service-related trauma or injury. For more information, visit www.Melwood.org.
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