Fighter Country Partnership is proud to feature Jason Isaak, Principal, Policy Development Group and the Vice Chairman of the Blue Blazer Squadron.
Jason has worked for Policy Development Group since 1998 and represents clients at all levels of government – local, state, and federal. Prior to joining PDG, Jason served as legislative director for Congressman Jim Kolbe. During his nearly eight year tenure on Capitol Hill in Congressman Kolbe’s office, Jason rose through the ranks to ultimately staff the Appropriations Subcommittee on Treasury and Postal Service which Kolbe chaired. During his time on Capitol Hill, Jason was responsible for advising Congressman Kolbe on a range of issues including defense, education, currency reform, law enforcement, judicial matters, and immigration.
A Tucson native, Jason graduated from Baylor University and holds a diploma for the completion of the US Naval War College’s College of Naval Command and Staff program.
He has served as an Honorary Commander for Luke Air Force Base and remains a member of Fighter Country Partnership serving as the Vice Chairman of the Blue Blazer Squadron. In 2010, Jason was appointed by Arizona Governor Janice K. Brewer to serve on the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments Nominating Committee and continues to serve in that capacity. Additionally, Governor Brewer appointed Jason to serve on the Governor’s Regulatory Review Council in 2012.
While a former Honorary Commander assigned to the 56th Maintenance Group from 2008 to 2010, he learned that the 56th Maintenance Group provides aircraft maintenance on more than 138 F-16s for the Air Force’s only active duty F-16 training wing. The 56th Maintenance Group generates more than 25,000 sorties compiling 32,000 flight hours per year, which plays a pivotal role in conducting the safe and efficient training for more than 350 pilots every year. As the largest maintenance group in the Air Force, the 56th Maintenance Group consists of 2,200 members operating on an annual budget of $161 million to maintain the F-16s and engines-assets, which are valued at more than $5 billion. The 56th Maintenance Group also directly contributes to Luke’s second mission: training more than 3,000 maintenance technicians and 1,000 Mission Ready F-16 crew chiefs each year.
“My most memorable experience with the 56th Maintenance Group was attending their annual “Maintainer of the Year” award dinner,”
“It was an incredible honor to participate. Without maintainers, planes don’t fly; and the pride those men and women had in what they do every day was evident as the various squadrons supported their nominees with their individual squadron chants. Being in a hangar completely full of loud and energetic maintainers was something I’ll never forget.”
The Honorary Commanders program is designed to promote mutual partnerships with the local community and to promote a better understanding of the important Air Force mission.
“When I handled military affairs for then-Congressman Jim Kolbe, I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the Air Force in Arizona (although most of the focus was on Davis-Monthan AFB), especially during both the 1993 and 1995 base closure rounds. But when I speak with other Honorary Commander alumni, I know the participants learn about the Air Force and Luke AFB. More importantly, they get to interact with some of the most remarkable individuals they will ever meet – from airmen to generals – so the Air Force ceases to be simply a branch of our military, but now has faces, names, and personal relationships tied to it. The Honorary Commander program should personalize the Air Force for us and should give our Luke AFB commanders the opportunity to learn about our community – it seems to be working well.”
When asked what it means to be a member of the Blue Blazer Squadron of FCP – especially vice-chair, Jason explained,
“Usually, the “vice” is relegated attending funerals of foreign dignitaries and attend ribbon cutting ceremonies. Instead I get to work closely with some of the most influential and committed men and women in the Valley who were inspired by their honorary commander experiences to find ways to give back to our Airmen and their families.”
Jason has participated in many BBS and FCP activities in support of the Airmen at Luke.
BBS members supported the Luke Airman of the Year Dinner by providing the First Shirts (First Sergeants) with resources to help plan and organize the event.
“Best of all, we were able to attend and participate in another great example of Air Force culture and tradition. Every Blue Blazer there took great pride in hearing Lt. Gen. Tod Wolters (Commander, 12th AF) recognize Blue Blazers and FCP for our contribution.”
While visiting another Air Force base recently, someone inquired about how the BBS was formed and if it could be replicated on other installations and he explained that
“clearly, the work FCP does on behalf of Luke AFB does not go unnoticed, and the fact others want what we have speaks volumes.”
In December, 2013 Jason, along with several other Blue Blazers, attended the Dorm Dwellers Holiday Party. The Base Chaplain puts on this event for those airmen who will not be able to spend Christmas with their families.
“It was great to interact with these predominantly junior enlisted airmen, watch them have a relaxed evening, play video games, and win some great “gifts” in a raffle,” he said. “They even let my 9-year-old compete with them in the video game contest.”
One of the highlights of being a Blue Blazer is getting to march in the Fiesta Bowl Parade and this past year, this effort was led by Danny Ortega for the BBS.
“We had a great turnout and a great time,” Jason said. “Handling the American Flag balloon and leading the way for about 100 Luke AFB airmen is awesome. Having parade watchers stand, take their hats off, and show respect for our flag and our troops is something everyone should get to experience. As you would suspect, after a few hours the helium in the balloon starts to leak and it doesn’t float quite as well. But we have a great group of kids (children and grandchildren of BBS members) who do a great job of making sure the flag doesn’t touch the ground.”
Jason explained that standing up an organization like the BBS comes with challenges.
“I hope we have exceeded expectations and keep moving the bar higher,” he said. “Ron Sites and the FCP Board have empowered the BBS to give back to the men and women at Luke AFB in a positive, meaningful way. I know the best is yet to come!”
Ron Sites, President and Executive Director of FCP, said of Jason,
“We are fortunate to have Jason’s passion, knowledge and connection to resources in a leadership position within the unique Blue Blazer Squadron. The efforts needed to stand up FCP’s Squadron required precision and a lot of attention to detail to ensure it was done right “the first time, and Jason played a key role then, now and will continue to going forward!”