CHEYENNE — Altus, home of Altus Air Force Base, has been named a ‘Great American Defense Community’ by the Association of Defense Communities (ADC) and USAA.
The announcement was made Thursday by three members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation, Rep. Frank Lucas, Sen. Jim Inhofe and Sen. James Lankford.
“Oklahoma’s military installations have a long history of supporting and providing for our nation’s military readiness, modernization, and maintenance efforts, and Altus Air Force Base proudly embodies the mission of the United States Air Force. As the base continues to train Airmen and women for their next mission, the Wing Commander’s priorities have remained tried and true: Mission, Airmen, and Community. One of the most important of these three pillars is Community, which is held up by the people of Altus who do an exemplary job of supporting Altus Air Force Base and its personnel,” said Lucas. “Today, I’m proud to join Senator Inhofe and Senator Lankford celebrating the City of Altus being named a Great American Defense Community by the Association of Defense Communities. The Altus community plays an essential role supporting the base’s mission and I’m proud to celebrate all those who call Altus home. Just as our military personnel stand behind our country, Altus stands firmly behind the men and women in uniform and this honor is certainly well deserved.”
“I am incredibly pleased — but not surprised — to hear that Altus, Okla., has been chosen as a Great American Defense Community,” Inhofe said. “Oklahoma’s military bases play a crucial role in our nation’s readiness and Altus Air Force Base’s role in maintaining the C-17, the KC-135 and the KC-46 continues to exceed expectations. Congratulations to the Altus community, the men and women serving at the base and all of Oklahoma’s military for continuing to embrace our nation’s highest set of standards and service.”
“Congratulations, Altus, on this high honor that recognizes the vital role the entire community contributes in supporting the airmen and making Altus Air Force Base successful in its mission,” said Lankford. “Anyone who knows Altus knows that the people are its greatest asset. It’s good to share the ways Altus is growing and expanding in and around the Base, and I’m proud to see this national attention paid to one of Oklahoma’s brightest lights.”
The Great American Defense Communities program, now in its sixth year, recognizes the role that communities and regions with active installations in the U.S. play in supporting service members and military families. Communities are chosen through a competitive nomination process based on community building and integration, support and collaboration, and educational and employment opportunities, and family support — and this year, diversity and inclusion initiatives and COVID-19 programs were taken into consideration.
“On behalf of the Altus community and the Altus Military Affairs Committee, it is with great pleasure and pride to be recognized by the Association of Defense Communities as one of the top five “Great American Defense Communities” in the nation for 2021. The community and members of the Altus Military Affairs Committee (MAC) have worked steadily and tenaciously year after year to exemplify the best air force base and community relationship in the U.S. Air Force,” said Dr. Joe Leverett, CEO, Altus Chamber of Commerce. “Members of the MAC and community have always graciously accepted their roles as ambassadors and genuinely appreciate the sacrifice of the men and women that serve our Air Force at Altus. It is our hope and desire that every airman feels at home during their brief stay with us in southwest Oklahoma. The importance of such a critical national asset and the synergy of KC-135, C-17 and KC-46 training at Altus AFB is not taken lightly or for granted by the community and we look forward to many years of teamwork between the base and community of Altus”.
“It shows that we are doing our job, there is a culture here of working with our military base, it has been going on since the late 50s,” said Mayor Jack Smiley. “It is something that we work at, so it is nice to be recognized for the work. The relationship between the city and the base is ultra-important; they are a part of our lives.”
“I am proud of the community. The vision has always been a place where you can come back to throughout your career, where your spouse can find good meaningful employment, your kids can get a good education, where you can be professionally developed and personally fulfilled in a community. That’s what we have here in Altus Oklahoma”, said Colonel Matthew Leard Commander of the 97th Air Mobility Wing, Altus Air Force Base.