Weeks discusses economic impact, announces future plans at BCC luncheon

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jake Jacobsen
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, spoke to members of the Base Community Council June 20 during a luncheon at the Club on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

During the luncheon newly appointed BCC officers were announced and Weeks revealed the fiscal year 2018’s Economic Impact Report and shared the wing’s latest initiatives and projects as well as upcoming base events. Among those events mentioned was the 2020 Wings Over Columbus air show, scheduled for April 25-26 and it will feature the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

The BCC is a multi-community organization that focuses on connecting the local Columbus, Mississippi, community to Columbus AFB. Members promote friendships between one another, discuss business ideas and boost local business relationships with the base.

“This is a great opportunity for us to connect with our mission partners from across the community and get updates so we can try to learn more about each other,” Weeks said. “This way our partners can be more integrated into our operations and economic impacts for Columbus AFB.”

During her brief she mentioned Columbus AFB had 324 pilots graduate in fiscal 2018, 26 of those were international pilots from 23 nations, and 92 wingmen combat systems officers also graduated.

The economic impact for Columbus AFB during the fiscal 2018 was $314.8 million which is a $43.6 million increase from fiscal 2017. Payroll increased by $12.2 million, personnel increased by 495, and construction contracts were up $25 million from the previous year.

She also discussed some other quality of life initiatives the base is currently invested in, such as the repaving of the Base Exchange and Commissary parking lot and the new Freedom Park, which is currently under construction. Some of the other events that Weeks spoke about included BLAZE Fest, Air Education and Training Command’s change of command, the wing’s Unit Effectiveness Inspection, and the Air Force Ball which will focus on celebrating 50 years of modern pilot training.

Weeks mentioned the base’s plans to continue having events such as the A-BLAZIN’ Race and last year’s professional development day, “Fight’s On: Airmen Hackin’ the Mish,” to continue to inspire Airmen and help strengthen the four pillars of the Comprehensive Airman Fitness -- mental, social, spiritual and physical.

New BCC officers were also announced during the luncheon. Among the newest BCC officers were President Chuck Bigelow and Vice President Lynn Robinson.

Bigelow said he’s excited about the opportunity and mentioned some things the council can look forward to, such as a new BCC logo, a revamped Facebook page and new sponsors. He also said he wants to help council members be invested in the council learning about the base and wing’s mission in the coming months.

Toward the end of the luncheon Weeks also took time to answer questions and talked about some of the challenges faced; like the permanent party quality of life on and off the base along with budget cuts.