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502nd Air Base Wing keeps communication lines open with area chambers

  • Published
  • By Kathy Salazar
  • 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas-- The Joint Base San Antonio Annual Chamber Summit was hosted by Brig. Gen. Caroline Miller, 502nd Air Base Wing and JBSA commander at the Fort Sam Houston Community Center July 20, bringing together chambers of commerce from throughout the JBSA area.

The summit not only provided an opportunity to network and keep strong connections with the local communities but also allowed for updates about JBSA.

“This is a great community. The support we get from the community is the reason why so many large organizations want to come here,” Miller said.

Miller highlighted future growth at JBSA, to include the T-7A Red Hawk at JBSA-Randolph in 2024.

A big win for JBSA includes back-to-back nominations as a finalist for the Commander-In-Chief’s Installation Excellence Award.

“Some installations never even get this opportunity, so to be nominated twice is a huge win,” Miller said. “The $750,000 in second-place winnings will go to JBSA installations to provide quality-of-life support for our service members and their families.”

Michael “Apollo” Lovell, JBSA-Electromagnetic Defense Initiative & 5G Executive Director provided the recent program accomplishments and how JBSA is partnering with the surrounding communities.

“The partnership with DOD has launched us into the national level in test programs and experimentation,” Lovell said. "JBSA has become a national pilot test in support of Presidential Executive Order No. 13865, Coordinating National Resilience to Electromagnetic Pulses, and is the DOD’s largest fifth-generation cellular (5G) research site.

“One of the reasons San Antonio was selected was because of the community,” Lovell said. “The pilot test and 5G program management office will bring an economic impact not only to the military but also to the community, with a significant financial investment.”

Another partnership success for JBSA is with the AACOG Law Enforcement Academy.

“The academy gives us the opportunity to expand our training and have access to training technologies in areas where we are not able to do or acquire internally,” Miller explained.

The program also provides the ability to partner between the agencies – to include the Southwest Texas Fusion Center – promoting operational, intelligence, communications and real-time situational awareness.

“It has not only augmented core-required training for our Security Forces but has also improved the ability to coordinate and conduct exercises with our non-military law enforcement partners for events that cross federal and non-federal jurisdictions,” said Lt. Col. Charles Haag, 502nd Security Forces Group deputy commander. “This partnership is a success model for the entire nation.”

JBSA is partnering with the Workforce and Transition Alliance, which helps transitioning service members, military spouses and family members throughout JBSA as well as helping communities by providing them an opportunity to have a collective impact.

“Our goal is to share and synchronize employment, education, entrepreneurship and build the workforce in San Antonio,” Miller said. The program has grown to more than 160 government, and non-government agencies, veteran nonprofits and employer partners.

JBSA’s SkillBridge/Career Skills Program helps connect employers to potential employees who are ready to join the civilian workforce.

“We are looking to expand the program and work with the Texas Workforce Commission to provide more training opportunities,” said Serafina De Los Santos, 502nd Force Support Group executive director. “We’re looking forward to crossing the $1 million dollar threshold in unemployment compensation savings for the Department of Defense.”

“This summit is a reminder of the value that our defense community contributes to the region, business community, and economy and that JBSA understands the value for partnerships with area chambers,” said Leticia Peña Martinez, North San Antonio Chamber advocacy and business development vice president.