Wild Weasel leadership, Airmen meet with Capitol Hill
By Staff Sgt. Deana Heitzman, 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 15, 2017
WASHINGTON, D.C. --
In an effort to streamline crucial information—updates, concerns, issues and successes of the wing—to members of Congress, the Air Force Chief of Staff’s office teamed up with the Air Force Legislative Liaison office and initiated a program for first-time wing commanders to visit Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
On Oct. 24, Col. R. Scott Jobe, the 35th Fighter Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Chuck Frizzell, the 35th FW command chief, used this opportunity to discuss issues and concerns Team Misawa members face with elected officials.
“This is a great opportunity to establish relationships with members of Congress,” said Frizzell. “Since we are an overseas installation, we do not have a dedicated senator or representative to whom we can voice issues or concerns. It is important for them to understand what is going on at Misawa, which—due to increased threats—is an important location within the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.”
Throughout the day, leadership spoke with various members of Congress, including Guam Representative Madeleine Bordallo and Alaskan Representative Don Young, who have interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region, the armed forces and technology advancements.
The primary topics of discussion included operational and fleet readiness, aging infrastructure—such as the Potter Fitness Center and the Richard Bong Training Facility—and quality of life concerns.
“We have operational readiness requirements, but we want to express what our Airmen and families need as well,” said Jobe. “We have ‘old jets and young Airmen’ who do not have the experience or quality resources needed to accomplish the mission single-handedly, which increases manpower hours. Voicing these concerns helps educate and inform our elected officials, giving a personal aspect to these issues.”
To make the visit more about Team Misawa Airmen, Jobe and Frizzell recruited Capt. Benjamin Walters, a 13th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot, to provide anecdotes and personal testimonies about the challenges pilots and maintainers experience daily.
The leadership team also spoke with various Air Staff offices and the F-35 Lightning II integration office, pinpointing answers to personnel and supply concerns the wing faces.
"We also got the chance to brag about our Team Misawa members and how hard the wing is working," expressed Jobe. "We know most issues don't have an instant fix, but this visit is a stepping stone for long-lasting partnerships with our Congressmen, which are one of the most vital resources we have while serving our nation."