Columbus AFB hosts third quarter BCC Luncheon

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Beaux Hebert
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
The Base Community Council met at the Columbus Club for their quarterly luncheon Sept. 10, on Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi.

During the lunch, the organization revealed their new logo and introduced guest speaker Lt. Col. Nathaniel Wilds, 50th Flying Training Wing commander, spoke about his experience in the Columbus community.

The BCC is an organization dedicated to connecting the community with Columbus AFB in order to help Airmen feel more at home. The organization has members from multiple backgrounds and industries, which enables different perspectives on business ideas and partnerships with the base.

“The Base Community Council is an organization that truly strengthens the relationship between the base and the Columbus community,” Wilds said.

The organization started their meeting by revealing their new logo and electing new members for their leadership.

Following the formalities, Wilds began his speech by sharing his Columbus experience starting in 2003 after graduating the U.S. Air Force Academy. He opted not to use his summer leave, and came straight to his assignment to get started.

During training, Wilds went through three phases in order to become a pilot.

The first phase was academics that focused on making the student pilots knowledgeable about the mechanics of flight and how to be a quick thinker. Wilds said Phase I was “the most challenging and difficult time of my life.”

Wilds completed Phase I, which enabled him to finally get into a cockpit. In Phase II, Wilds was taught the basic fundamentals of flying and piloting. Wilds mentioned that during this period a student’s ultimate goal was to get a solo ride and pass in order to move to the next phase of training.

Wilds track selected the T-38 Talon, the fighter/bomber path, for his final phase of training, Phase III.

“This phase lasted about six months and the focus, with T-38’s specifically, was relearning everything you already did but at twice the speed,” Wilds said.

After completing the Phase III and earning the coveted Silver Wings and the aeronautical rating of pilot, Wilds was selected to be a First Assignment Instructor Pilot at the 50th FTS flying T-38s. Wilds said that his now wife, who went to college at Mississippi State University 40 minutes from the base, had an influence on his decision to ask for his FAIP assignment.

Wilds moved on from Columbus AFB in August of 2007 and went on to fly the B-52 Stratofortress, B-2 Spirit and MC-12 Liberty over the next several years. In addition, he attended Air University and also served as the Chief of Special Technical Operations and Advanced Program at Joint-Global Strike Operations.

In August of 2018, 11 years after he left his FAIP assignment, Wilds became the Director of Operations for the 50th FTS, the same squadron where he was formerly a FAIP. Within nine months he was promoted to commander of the 50th FTS.
Wilds began to talk about what he noticed when he first came back to Columbus.

“The city of Columbus and the base have not changed that much, aside from a few cosmetic changes,” Wilds said. “But the cool thing is the people did not change, it’s the same great hospitality and group of people I remember from the first time I was here.”

After Wilds spoke, Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, delivered some closing remarks and shared her appreciation for the connection between the base and the local community.

“I just want to acknowledge that everyone in this room, whether you are in the military, a first responder or a community leader, has ensured that over the years our individuals in this community have stayed vigilant to secure our freedoms...,” Weeks said.