President and Executive Director Ron Sites reported that Fighter Country Partnership has raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars in support of Luke Air Force Base in the past year. Sites made his report during the organization’s annual meeting Feb. 7 at the Renaissance Hotel in Glendale.
Fighter Country Partnership is the Valley’s leading community support and advocacy organization for Luke Air Force Base. FCP’s mission is to support the men, women and families of Luke and to protect its mission to train the world’s best fighter pilots, maintainers and support personnel.
Sites shared the program with FCP Chairman of the Board Charley Freericks, 56th Fighter Wing Commander Brig. Gen. J. D. Harris, Glendale Mayor Elaine Scruggs and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.
According to Sites, $229,127 was allocated to three main areas of the organization’s primary interests: Health and human services, base events and award programs and political advocacy for Luke.
In his briefing to FCP members, Harris said Luke is exclusively responsible for the training of 90 percent of all F-16 pilots and 100 percent of the F-16 crew chiefs currently serving in the United States Air Force. Since 1941, Luke has graduated more than 57,000 pilots and 10,000 crew chiefs.
Harris said in addition to training the world’s best fighter pilots and maintainers, some 174 Luke members are currently deployed in active duty roles around the world.
After launching Luke Forward in partnership with FCP in October 2009, Mayor Scruggs said the campaign initially drew some 5,000 supporters in its first 60 days. Beyond all previous expectations, Luke Forward now boasts of more than 21,000 registered supporters.
“Arizona is unparalleled in its support for the Arizona military industry,” Scruggs said.
With the recent release of the formal Environmental Impact Statement regarding Luke and the F-3A5, more than 2,000 electronic postcards of support were sent within the first two hours. As the F-35A public hearing meetings began this week, Scruggs said the EIS team had received more than 7,000 support cards to date.
Echoing the mayor’s words of support, Brewer took the stage with her personal promise and political commitment to FCP and for the protection of Luke and its mission.
“Your mission is my mission,” Brewer said. “You’ve established Glendale as a constant presence in the West Valley and I’m counting on your leadership in the community comment phase. We will never forget, freedom comes at a cost.”
For more information about Fighter Country Partnership, Luke Forward, or to show your support for the F-35A training mission at Luke Air Force Base, visit www.fighercountry.org or call 623-882-2191.
By Bill Toops, Publisher.
This publication is made available with permission of Pueblo Publishers, Inc.