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  • MGM: Maxwell-Gunter-Montgomery

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    It’s fitting that MGM stands for Montgomery but is also an acronym for Maxwell-Gunter Montgomery. Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base is truly our base, and it’s not just key to our nation’s security; it is an essential element of our area’s culture and prosperity as well.
    With a population of more than 9,600 active duty, reserve, civilian, and contractor personnel, the Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base community has a significant economic and cultural impact on the River Region. The base’s contributions to our area — both tangible and intangible — are immeasurable. It’s a fact we’ve long known, as evidenced by the warm welcome that military members and their families receive from our leaders, residents, businesses and other organizations. In a continual joining of hands, our region’s civilian and base populations have maintained a mutually beneficial relationship that is key to the area’s stability and success. 
    Base personnel boost our local economy simply with their presence — Maxwell- Gunter AFB is a major player in the estimated $2.6 billion annual economic impact that the military has on the River Region, and airmen stationed at the base (and their families) donate their time and talents to multiple local events and charitable causes. 
    Our city and our base have always been close partners, and Montgomery remains proud to have a military institution of such stature here. In 2015, the strong support that Montgomery has consistently provided to all who live and work at Maxwell earned the city a prestigious national award, the Altus Trophy. The city has also been named “The Best Hometown in the Air Force.”
    These stats illustrate the important role Maxwell-Gunter AFB and other local military units play in our community.
    • $2.6 BILLION - the annual economic impact of our area’s entire military complex.
    • 68,473 PEOPLE (nearly 20 percent of our population) - the number of active duty military, Reserve, National Guard, DoD civilians, military contractors, military retirees and all their family members in the greater Montgomery Metro Area.
    Here’s a quick look at all the educational activity happening at Maxwell-Gunter AFB through the prestigious Air University. Air University students are Air Force (active duty, Guard, Reserve), Sister Service, federal civilians and international officers and enlisted. AU teaches both Joint and Coalition partners.
    • No. of Students Annually: 500 Length of Program: 10 months
    ACSC traces its roots to the Air Corps Tactical School located at Maxwell Field from 1931 to 1942. In 1962, the school became known by its current name. The 10-month curriculum focuses on expanding understanding of air and space power and on the growth of mid-career officers through seminar-centered, active environment with an integrated curriculum geared to problem solving across the continuum from peace to war.
    • No. of Students Annually: 245 Length of Program: 10 months
    AWC is the senior school in the Air Force professional military education system. AWC is for U.S. military lieutenant colonels, colonels, international Allied partners and equivalent-grade DoD civilians. It develops senior leaders for strategic-level employment of air, space and cyberspace forces. The curriculum emphasizes coalition war fighting and national security.
    • No. of Students Annually: 2,184 Length of Program: 5 weeks
    The Air Force Senior Noncommissioned Officer Academy is the third level of enlisted professional military education. AFSNCOA prepares senior NCOs to lead the enlisted force in the employment
    of airpower in support of U.S. national security objectives.
    • No. of Students Annually: 588 Length of Program: 6 weeks
    The Noncommissioned Officer Academy is the second level of enlisted professional military education and prepares technical sergeants to be professional, war-fighting Airmen who can manage and lead Air Force units in the employment of airpower. The NCOA is a professional school designed to educate and advance the high ideals necessary for leadership, teamwork, good order and discipline in the Air Force. NOTE: Maxwell-Gunter AFB doesn’t have a “permanent” NCOA. However, the NCOA currently on base is the Airey NCOA out of Tyndall AFB. It will be here until the NCOA at Tyndall is repaired following damage by Hurricane Michael. The plan is for the Airey NCOA to remain here till January 2021.
    • No. of Students Annually: 252 Length of Program: 4 weeks
    The Enlisted Professional Military Education Instructor Course produces noncommissioned officers who can both teach and lead effectively in and out of the classroom.
    • No. of Students Annually: 616 Length of Program: 4 weeks
    The Air Force First Sergeant Academy’s mission is to develop, through education and training, selected senior noncommissioned officers to serve as advisors to commanders on issues that impact Airmen in successfully accomplishing the Air Force mission. The FSA consists of active duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard.
    • No. of Students Annually: 700 Length of Program: 4 weeks
    The Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course is the capstone and pinnacle level of enlisted professional military education. The CLC provides chief master sergeants the education to bridge strategic vision into tactical execution.
    • No. of Students Annually: 2,300 Length of Program: Varies
    Named in honor of Gen. Ira C. Eaker to recognize his significant contributions to the Air Force and the continuing professional development of its members, the center supports the U.S. Air Force mission by providing world-class, multidiscipline technical training and professional continuing education to U.S. Air Force, international and other DOD personnel.
    • No. of Students Annually: 3,500 Length of Program: Varies
    The primary mission at Officer Training School is to educate and train officers of character who are committed to the Air Force core values and equipped to lead and ready to win.
    • No. of Students Annually: 200 Length of Program: 7 weeks
    The International Officer School is the lead-up course to prepare all international officers for attending Air War College, Air Command and Staff College and Squadron Officer School. Since 1954, more than 11,000 international military students from 143 countries have graduated from IOS preparatory courses. The courses predominantly focus on refinement of communication skills by familiarizing participants with common terminology and stressing the military context the students require for success in their advanced coursework.
    • No. of Students Annually: 2,500 Length of Program: Varies
    The Judge Advocate General’s School is the United States Air Force’s world-class legal education and training institution for military attorneys and paralegals.
    • No. of Students Annually: 1,000 Length of Program: Varies
    The Curtis E. LeMay Center is named in honor of the fifth chief of staff of the Air Force. The center is where Air Force doctrine is developed, advocated in exercises and wargames, represented in joint and multinational doctrine and deployed to Airmen through a multifaceted outreach program.
    • No. of Students Annually: 100 Length of Program: 10 months
    The School of Advanced Air and Space Studies produces strategists through advanced education in the art and science of air, space and cyberspace power. The school is the Air Force graduate school for strategists.
    • No. of Students Annually:  4,200
    Length of Program: 6.5 weeks The Squadron Officer School is the professional military education experience for Air Force captains and equivalent-grade DoD civilians and international officers. The purpose of the program is to help develop solution-minded, bold and courageous Airmen ready to overcome today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.
    NOTE: All numbers are approximate.
    Montgomery continually strives to strengthen the bonds between the community and the military, and the recently formed River Region Defense Council is providing a new vehicle for communication and collaboration.
    The Council includes both community and military leadership and provides critical insight into understanding the different military missions within the River Region, while also exploring ways to support, sustain and grow those missions. The Council will meet twice each year, in spring and fall.
    The Council’s duties are multi-purpose, but one key role will be to support our military members and their families through education and smart city/base innovation initiatives, provide spousal and family support resources and offer assistance for other joint projects of mutual benefit. The Council will produce actionable items that will be assigned and pursued between meetings, and progress reports on action items will be presented at future meetings. 
    Meet just a handful of the families making a home here – even if only for a short time – thanks to their studies and work at Air University.
    When did you come to Montgomery? We first visited Montgomery in February of this year in search for a house and school. After that, Remco arrived in Montgomery on May 26, and I followed with the kids on June 21. We travelled separately because Kate was born only four weeks before Remco had to report at Maxwell AFB.
    Where did you come here from? We come from the Netherlands, more specifically from the city of Tilburg in the southern part of the Netherlands.
    What program/school is Remco a part of at Maxwell AFB? Remco is participating in the Air Command and Staff College (ACSC), after he joined the International Officers School.
    How long will you be here? One year
    Where in Montgomery do you live? In Sturbridge.
    What is your impression of Montgomery? There is a lot to do (more than we expected up front), and we feel that the people of Montgomery are used to having internationals living between them, and they are able to make us feel welcome. We are really surprised with what Alabama has to offer; it is a really beautiful state and offers a lot for children as well.
    How are y’all connecting with the community? Maxwell AFB runs the International Family Orientation Program (IFOP), which offers great opportunities to connect with the community. They also offer a sponsor program, where a local family “sponsors” an international family. We chose not to participate in the sponsor-program, because we are used to making new connections ourselves. In addition, the U.S. students of ACSC and their spouses also contribute to connecting us with the community. What struck us the most is that everybody is very friendly and willing to make a (small) conversation with us. That is different from the experience we have in our own country.
    What are some of y’all’s favorite places in Montgomery? Number one: the Biscuits! It is a great place to go with the whole family; our kids love it, especially when the fireworks go of at the end of some of the games. Also, some great places we love to go with our kids are SweetCreek Farm and Tipping Point. For Remco, as an airman, the Aviator bar in the Alley is a great place to visit. We also like to go Lake Martin. Maxwell AFB has a great recreation area at Lake Martin.
    Do you feel that Montgomery and its residents value the airmen at Maxwell? Absolutely! As already mentioned before, all Montgomery residents make us feel welcome and appreciated. People are always willing to help, to make a conversation and tell us they appreciate Remco’s service.
    What is the next step for your family? We will continue to enjoy our life in Montgomery and appreciate the opportunity being offered to us to live here. We don’t know Remco’s next assignment yet, but it most probably will be at one of the airbases in the Netherlands. Of course we are looking forward to seeing our family and friends in The Netherlands again, but it is safe to say that we will miss our Sweet Home Alabama.
    When did you come to Montgomery? June 2018. We moved from San Antonio, Texas.
    What program/school are you and Lorie parts of at Maxwell AFB? My wife is an Air University fellow who taught this past year at Squadron Officer School and is currently going to Intermediate Developmental Education at Air Command and Staff College. I spent the last year teaching at Squadron Officer School and am now the Director of Staff at Squadron Officer School.
    Are there challenges with both parents being active duty? On a daily basis, we ensure our schedules are coordinated in a way that support one another
    to the max extent possible, and bottom line, we put the kids first. We make a really cohesive team. When one of us has to stay late or after hours for work, the other flexes to ensure we cover down on all of the family responsibilities. At times it can be challenging, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We also have other military friends and family who are always there to support and help when they can.
    How long will you be here? We will be here for one more year and expect to move in 2020.
    What is your impression of Montgomery? We love Montgomery and the River Region. Living in Pike Road gives us a small town feel but is still close to all the restaurants, shopping and sights. Montgomery’s rich history and community activities have made it a place we love.
    What are some of y’all’s favorite places in Montgomery? Our kids love to go to the Zoo, fish local areas, and going to Biscuits games. Favorite restaurants include La Jolla, Central, Filet and Vine, D’Road Cafe and any Korean place.
    Do you feel that Montgomery and its residents value the airmen at Maxwell? Absolutely! The people of Montgomery and the River Region make us feel welcome and part of their family. We see it in military appreciation events, especially at Biscuits games. We also love the military programs at the schools.
    When did you come to Montgomery? We came to Prattville in July 2019. We also lived at Maxwell AFB from July 2013 to June 2014.
    Where did you come here from? We came here from Hanscom AFB, Massachusetts (near Bedford).
    What program/school is Chris a part of at Maxwell AFB? Chris is attending Air War College.
    How long will you be here? Only one year is guaranteed, but we would like to be here a second year.
    What is your impression of Montgomery and the area? We like the River Region. Montgomery has grown since we were here last, yet the downtown area seems to still have the small town feel based on the architecture and events. We find it very welcoming! The city is rebuilding, yet ensuring the important history of the town is maintained.
    What are some of y’all’s favorite places in the area? Breakfast/brunch at First Watch is one of our favorites. We’ve gone to some of the farmers markets and explored downtown Prattville. We have started showing our boys some of downtown Montgomery and plan to do more in the fall when it cools down. We all had a great time at the Tipping Point a few weeks ago with Chris’ classmates and their families.
    Do you feel that Montgomery and its residents value the airmen at Maxwell? Yes. I think we see it most through the businesses in Montgomery. Several businesses and services took time out of their day to come to the Air War College Spouse’s Orientation back in late-July, which was extremely informative. One of the bakeries brought samples and we enjoyed them so much, we had them bake our youngest son’s birthday cake.
    What is the next step for your family? We don’t know where our next adventure will be, but we will be sad to leave the River Region again.
    When did you come to Montgomery? July 2019
    Where did you come here from? We moved here from Dover, Delaware, as we were stationed at Dover AFB.
    What program/school is Peter a part of at Maxwell AFB? He is a part of the Academic Year 2020 Air Command and Staff College class.
    How long will you be here? We’re currently expecting to live in Montgomery until the ACSC graduation next spring; however, we could potentially be here for two years.
    Where in Montgomery do you live? Deer Creek
    What is your impression of Montgomery? Our family has really enjoyed our time in Montgomery so far. Between going to Biscuits games, attending Jurrasic Quest at the convention center, touring the Alabama Department of Archives and the local area we have kept ourselves busy. My husband is from Daphne, Alabama, so he has been very eager to show us as much of the great State of Alabama as possible.
    How are you connecting with the community? We share a strong connection with the community through our children’s respective schools, our church, Maxwell AFB activities and groups and with our fellow Deer Creek neighbors. It has kept us busy, and more importantly, integrated us tightly into the community.
    Do you feel that Montgomery and its residents value the airmen at Maxwell? Alabamians have a very obvious appreciation for the military, and the Maxwell AFB connection to the community is very strong. It has been a major reason our family has experienced such a seamless integration into the Montgomery community.
    What is the next step for your family? As anyone serving in the military knows, what happens next is up to the military. We’re expecting to receive notification in the next few months and are excited about finding out!
    Each November, the Chamber and the entire River Region express gratitude for the military in our midst with a long list of special discounts during Military Appreciation Week. Visit 
    www.montgomerychamber.com/militaryappreciation to see the great lineup for 2019 and find ways to say thanks and show your support.
    Montgomery’s historic 187th Fighter Wing of Alabama’s Air National Guard, known as The Red Tails, will soon be home to a squadron of 22 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets. The announcement was made in December 2017, and the jets are set to arrive in December 2023. Here’s an update on what’s happened so far and what will be happening in the coming years from Lt. Col. Kevin Pugh, the 187th’s F-35 Unit Conversion Office Director.
    The Montgomery unit is currently in the process of finishing the designs on multiple base facilities, which will result in approximately $100-plus million in building renovations and construction projects. The construction for the first of these projects will begin in October 2020, with all projects scheduled for completion by July 2023.
    These projects include new and updated maintenance, logistics and operational facilities that will support the world’s most advanced stealth fighter. One of these new buildings will serve as home to four F-35 simulators, where pilots will train inside a 360-degree domed simulator, which accurately replicates the jet’s cutting-edge technology.
    Once base facilities are complete, the Air Force will begin delivery of more than $2 billion in aircraft and support equipment to Dannelly Field. The first Alabama ANG F-35 is scheduled to arrive in December 2023, and the final aircraft will arrive sometime in late 2024.
    While the base undergoes its multiyear, multimillion-dollar refresh, a group of approximately 50 maintainers, logisticians and pilots will head off to other F-35 units around the country to train to become Alabama’s initial cadre of instructors. Depending on their current career specialty and experience level, these volunteers will spend between one and three years at bases such as Eglin AFB, Florida, and Hill AFB, Utah, where they will maintain and fly the F-35. The unit’s first F-35 volunteer, Captain “Lefty” Smith, took to the skies over Florida this summer in an Eglin AFB F-35.

    Throughout the Red Tail’s F-35 conversion, the 187th Fighter Wing will continue to execute its current F-16 mission to deliver combat-ready Airmen and aircraft for rapid deployment anytime, anywhere.
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