SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. --
As 2017 comes to a close, officials at Scott Air Force Base reflect on an action-packed Centennial year.
“It’s been an incredible year that highlighted our global missions and honored the people who carved out its rich history,” said Chris Buschur, 375th Air Mobility Wing vice commander. “It’s also been a fantastic year of a solidifying our outstanding community partnerships along the way—we couldn’t ask for a better group of friends who support us!”
Scott is the fourth oldest continuously active base in the Air Force, with a history that reaches back to World War I. It’s also the only base named after an enlisted member—Corporal Frank S. Scott—who was the first enlisted member killed in an aviation accident.
Scott Field started as a pilot training base, transitioned into lighter-than-air missions, and added a communications school mission during World War II. After the birth of the Air Force, Scott helped usher in the modern jet age, and has grown into the nation’s premier transportation and cyber hub for the Department of Defense.
The year began with Gov. Bruce Rauner declaring 2017 as the “Year of Scott Air Force Base” for Illinois and Mayor Mark Eckert, president of Southwest Illinois council of Mayors, stating that “our service men and women forgo comfort, face hardships, confront danger and sometimes give their lives in our defense, and they have well-earned our unwavering support. The men and women who serve at Scott Air Force Base are our family, and we are as invested in their well-being as they are in ours."
That set the tone for hundreds of base and community-led celebratory events with the June airshow being the largest public event held on the base in five years. Over 110,000 people flocked here to see aerial demonstrations featuring the USAF Thunderbirds, as well as a ramp full of historic and modern aircraft. Picnics, parades, runs, dances, concerts, sporting events, tours, car shows, speaking events and even a Centennial-themed corn maze also showcased the year.
Lt. Col. Kazmir Kostrubula, 375th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander and overall project officer for the Centennial events, said the intent was to highlight the theme of a “Century of Service,” which he said extends beyond the base boundaries.
“The community has gone above and beyond in helping us to celebrate this year,” Kostrubula said. “They’ve honored the base and our Airmen for this significant milestone in our nation’s history. Our Airmen have expanded their outreach to the local communities through service hours, mentoring, coaching, building, organizing and contributing to those in need. Internally, we looked for ways to foster teamwork, increase morale and thank our families for their continued support as well.”
Celebrating the Centennial was just one historic aspect to 2017. The wing also supported President Trump’s visit to Missouri; saw an increase in air traffic on the ramp due to revised training and drop zone requirements; exercised its mobility readiness; underwent a Unit Effectiveness Inspection; supported 11 C-17s on the ramp and multiple hurricane relief mission—both airlift and aeromedical evacuation; and launched its first ever mission cyber defense team just to name a few.
The base also made vast improvements in its infrastructure such as updating the security forces firing range—which is also jointly used with local police departments; renovated the dining facility and vet clinic, and built a new lodging facility, scheduled to open in January.
This year also marked a historic milestone for the United States Transportation Command as it celebrated its 30-year anniversary and Air Mobility Command realigned its heritage to celebrate its 70th anniversary—along with the Air Force’s 70th birthday as well.
Buschur said the year-long effort was a “home run” for the installation and the Air Force.
“Many people helped make this a special year, and I’d like to thank all the project leads for the many events we enjoyed,” Buschur said. “I especially would like to recognize Brig. Gen. select Laura Lenderman (a former wing commander), whose ideas and innovations truly made 2017 a spectacular, fireworks-filled year! The details from coins to banners to major airshows and installation events were, as always, top-notch!”
Buschur added, that “ours is a rich history of aviation, technological advancements, and social changes in times of war and peace. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the Air Force, an organization that has made the changes when it needed to, kept innovation and possibilities at its fore-front, provided global assistance to millions in need, invested in an educated and well-trained force, and continues to be a sentry of security for our nation. Our future is as bright as ever, and we look forward to another Century of Service!”