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Association of Defense Communities visits TLR community

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Aaron Irvin
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Representatives from the Association of Defense Communities visited Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas, on Feb. 25-26, 2020, in recognition of Central Arkansas being one of five communities across the country named to the 2020 Class of Great American Defense Communities.

The program, now in its fifth year, was established to recognize the role that communities and regions with active installations play in supporting service members and military families.

“The strength of our military starts at home, in America’s defense communities,” said Joe Driskill, ADC president.

During the visit, the representatives were able to tour Jacksonville High School and learn about the Cyber Security program. The new program was established in partnership with the 189th Airlift Wing, and is currently supported by the Guard’s Cyber School.

“The cyber security program at Jacksonville High School is just one of the many reasons Central Arkansas was recognized as a 2020 Great American Defense Community,” said Grace Marvin, ADC director of communications. “The strength of the installation/community relationship is apparent in the numerous quality of life initiatives that both the region and the base are committed to maintaining."

They were also able to sit in with base leadership, discussing the successful passage of state legislation to benefit our military and retiree community, including the exemption of military retirees from paying state income tax, automatic licensure for military spouses and veterans coming in from other states, and exempting all Arkansas National Guard members from tuition for higher education opportunities, among many other programs.

“The ADC brings together groups like this around the country to celebrate the good things that happen so we can learn from one another and make sure those practices are deployed all around the country,” Driskill said.

With nearly 70 percent of military members living in the communities outside of Little Rock AFB, many are direct recipients of the support from the community – proving the importance of the reciprocal support indicating the symbiotic relationship between the community and the base.

While meeting with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, the representatives, alongside Col. John Schutte, 19th Airlift Wing and installation commander, highlighted the importance of the government and community being actively involved and engaged in support of Airmen at LRAFB.

The ADC also attended a Community Council Meeting, visited the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, toured LRAFB, attended the Honorary Commanders Induction Ceremony, and toured the Jacksonville LRAFB University Center.

"ADC left our visit to Central Arkansas inspired,” said Joe Driskill, ADC president. “The community’s commitment to support LRAFB, and their dedication to consistently search for new ways to re-invent that commitment based on the installation's current needs was remarkable. It is certainly the model we seek to highlight within the Great American Defense Community program."

For a more in depth view of the 189th Airlift Wing’s tie to the Cyber Security curriculum click the "related link" above.