CAFB hosts Commander’s New Year Reception
By Airman 1st Class Beaux Hebert, 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 26, 2018
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
Col. Douglas Gosney, 14th Flying Training Wing Commander, along with commanders at all levels hosted the Commander’s New Year Reception Jan. 20 at the Columbus Club here.
Members of Team BLAZE and the local community were invited to hear the accomplishments the base made during 2017 and a peak of what is to come in 2018.
“Events like this bring together the base and community,” said Larry Cantrell, Base Community Council President. “There is nothing more important than the protection of the American citizens, in my opinion. We as a community need to let them know that we appreciate it and we will not forget the sacrifices being made.”
Gosney started his speech by sharing the wing’s primary mission to Produce Pilots. Columbus AFB flew over 76,500 flight hours on 7,700 sorties which produced 327 pilots. He then proceeded to talk about how the wing advances Airmen by encouraging them to pursue education and providing professional military education opportunities.
“Once the Airmen move on from here, they don’t just drop off the cliff, they continue to soar because they had a great foundation here,” Cantrell said.
Gosney also spoke about some of the more defining moments of 2017, such as the inspection from Air Education and Training Command that resulted in an overall Effective rating. The base also partnered with the local community to put on Fireworks on the Water for over 6,000 people.
Later in 2017, Columbus AFB held their 70th Air Force Birthday Ball at the Trotter Center in downtown Columbus and 400 people listened to guest speaker Maj. Gen. Mark Brown, Air Education and Training Command Deputy Commander, commend the 14th FTW on doing a great job.
The base also received the Community Partner Award at the annual CREATE meeting, for their contributions during the Imagine the Possibilities Career Expo in October in Tupelo, Mississippi, where 110 Team BLAZE members helped inspire over 7,000 eighth-graders.
During November, Columbus AFB partnered with organizations from Lowndes County to organize the Veterans Day Parade and Ceremony, which had 20 floats and over 400 people in attendance.
“We think we are pretty good at what we do, and we think the community is good at what they do,” Gosney said. “That why we make such a great team.”
The base also participated in the Happy Fund Shop and Wrap, which gave 400 presents to local school children and 115 food baskets to elderly citizens. The base also collected and donated 436 books to West Lowndes Elementary School.
Gosney then talked about the numerous awards the 14th FTW has won from Number Air Force, Major Command level and Air Force levels.
Gosney also highlighted how Team BLAZE Feeds the Fight by talking about some of the recent graduates and the missions they have completed down range.
After Gosney talked about what the base accomplished last year, he began to speak of things to come.
“This is going to be a busy year for us,” Gosney said. “We are planning a lot for community, Airmen and base that will ultimately impact the Air Force.”
Gosney said that the base will be producing more pilots than the previous years. He briefly touched on the Pilot Training Next program that is designed examine ways to improve and streamline pilot production, making it easier and quicker to train pilots.
Gosney then announced the next Air Force Birthday Ball will be Sept. 22, 2018, at the Trotter Center. He also talked about how the base is ramping up for the Wings Over Columbus Open House and Air and Space Show which is free and open to the public, and is April 21-22. The air show will feature multiple acts including aerial acrobatics from the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.
Even though the base golf course is shut down, Gosney said Columbus AFB will support the Happy Irby Golf Tournament in a new and different way. While the base Whispering Pines Golf Course closed on May 1 2017, the tournament will be hosted by the Lion Hills Golf Course on March 26, 2018.
Gosney also talked about the upcoming and almost complete projects around the base such as the BLAZE Fit Trail and the Alpha Warrior Competition. He also explained how a big shift in command will take place in 2018, as 12 changes of commands will occur on base, which includes his, two at the group level and nine at the squadron level.