AETC commander presents Enid, Vance Altus Trophy
By Senior Airman Frank Casciotta, 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 08, 2014
VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --
Gen. Robin Rand, commander of Air Education and Training Command, presented the Altus Trophy to Enid civic leaders April 2 at the Woodring Regional Airport in Enid, Okla.
The Altus Trophy is awarded to the community that best supports its host AETC base.
"At the end of the day, it's not about a trophy, it's about mission, Airmen and families," said Rand.
Enid won the Altus Trophy for the first time since the award's inception in 2011.
The relationship between Enid and Vance is a 'two-way street,' said Jon Blankenship, the president and chief executive officer of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce. "They take care of us as much as we take care of them."
Each year, Team Vance comes together and hosts Camp Tomahawk, a two-week camp for underprivileged children in Enid. Team Vance volunteers take the children on various excursions on and off base during that time.
"They volunteer for our schools, churches and community projects," said Blankenship. "The people at Vance make Enid a better city - they elevate our quality of life."
Enid is renowned around the Air Force for supporting families and Airmen here, said Rand.
During the presentation, Rand highlighted some of the programs that cement Vance and Enid together, like the expansion of the Woodring Airport runway.
"That is huge," said Rand. "The extension will increase our capability to produce, graduate and better train our student pilots."
With the expansion, student pilots can use the airport as an alternate landing field, in turn broadening their opportunities to practice landing procedures.
Enid also sponsors a scholarship program that paid $46,000 to help pay for textbooks and tuition for Airmen seeking to further their education, lightening the financial burden they would otherwise face.
"That's one of our biggest pushes in the Air Force - to push our Airmen toward a better education," said Rand.
One of the most unique events Enid puts on for Team Vance is the Enlisted Appreciation Night, which began 48 years ago. The event's sole purpose is to show the city's appreciation for the enlisted men and women at Vance.
"I've been around 35 years, and I have never heard of a community having an enlisted appreciation night," said Rand.
The Altus Trophy was developed by the Altus, Okla., Chamber of Commerce and former AETC commander Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr.