Civic leaders tour Barry M. Goldwater Range

  • Published
  • 944th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

More than 50 civic leaders and military members toured the Gila Bend Auxiliary Airfield and the Barry M. Goldwater Range East in Gila Bend, Arizona, to see firsthand Luke’s training mission Nov. 21 and 22.

944th Fighter Wing Reserve Citizen Airmen and 162nd Wing Arizona Air National Guardsmen partnered to offer civic leaders from Phoenix and Tucson a unique view of pilot training during the overnight trip.

“This trip is a great opportunity for our civic leaders to witness the capabilities of our aircraft,” said Col. James Greenwald, 944th FW commander. “This range is a perfect place to showcase all the hard work and training our members complete to accomplish the mission.

During the tour, attendees observed day and night bombing, rocket attacks, and strafing runs to demonstrate capabilities of the jets and the range. Civic leaders also viewed an equipment demonstration by Airmen from the 944th Civil Engineer Squadron’s explosive ordnance disposal team.

“What a treat to be able to view the bombing runs and interact with fellow civic leaders,” said Judith Wolf, 944th Fighter Wing honorary commander. “It was truly an amazing and memorable experience.”

Overall, the tour was considered a success by both military members and civic leaders alike.

The Barry M. Goldwater Range complex is a vast training range for U.S. and allied pilots. The range consists of 1.7 million acres of relatively undisturbed Sonoran Desert southwest of Luke Air Force Base between Yuma and Tucson, south of Interstate 8. Overhead are 57,000 cubic miles of airspace where pilots practice air-to-air maneuvers and engage simulated battlefield targets on the ground. Roughly the size of Connecticut, the immense size of the complex allows for simultaneous training activities on nine air-to-ground and three air-to-air ranges.

“As one of the most robust and flexible ranges for supporting realistic and integrated air-ground combat training, the BMGR is truly an invaluable asset in the defense of our nation,” said Susan Gladstein, 56th Range Management Office public affairs specialist. “Tours like these are an excellent opportunity for us to showcase not only our highly trained and talented Airmen but also provide an up-close view of the Range’s integral role in maintaining the preparedness of the Armed Forces that dates all the way back to 1941.”