Cheney Free Press -

By SHARON COLBY
Contributor 

Trip brought concerns of military families to light

Commentary

 

Last updated 12/5/2019 at 11:13am



In early November, I had the unique opportunity of joining 22 Spokane civic leaders on a two-day tour of Air Mobility Command (AMC) at Scott Air Force Base, in Illinois. This event was a part of the Air Force Civic Leader Tour Program, which is an Air Staff-level program whose membership is comprised of community leaders from across the country.

We took a KC-135 Stratotanker to Scott AFB. During the three-hour trip, we were invited to sit in the cockpit and talk with the pilots commanding the aircraft, and also the boom operators who actually conduct the air refueling. We saw these professionals run through their very detailed checklists, and they explained how the KC-135 provides global reach through aerial refueling. Not only do the crews perform mid-air refueling, they are also trained to handle ambulatory patients in the case of emergencies.

When we landed at Scott AFB, we met directly with Gen. Maryanne Miller, the four-star general charged with commanding Air Mobility Command. She discussed with us the impact we, as community leaders, have on the airmen and the mission at Fairchild AFB. We discussed a number of concerns that Gen. Miller sees at her level, to include license reciprocity, the education system and military children, as well as childcare provider shortages.

As a community, we’re already working to resolve license reciprocity, pressing to establish agreements with other states that allow licensed members to transfer their license without paying large sums and/or having to re-test in their particular field. When dual-income families in the military move, sometimes the civilian spouse struggle at finding work, or spend time and money to re-certify for work. Our community is already in the process of presenting more than 70 types of trade licenses that will benefit dual-income families in the military. Even though we’re making strides with license reciprocity, this is just one area that we as a community can make an impact.

In my role as a fire commissioner at Spokane County Fire District 3, I feel it is important to form partnerships that benefit the community as a whole. Fairchild AFB is our neighbor and an important part of our community. So I feel it is my privilege to help those service members and their families, wherever I can.

Sharon Colby serves Spokane County Fire District 3 in Commissioner Position No. 1. She has been serving the fire district since 1990.

 

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