KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
The 173rd Fighter Wing hosted the senior staff, to include the president, of Oregon Institute of Technology, Jan. 3, 2017.
This tour was a chance for 173rd FW and OIT leadership to build rapport and share ideas on how they can enhance their community partnerships with one another.
The 173rd Fighter Wing Commander, Col. Jeff Smith, led the tour beginning in the aircrew flight equipment shop. There he showed them the various pieces of gear worn while flying while giving them a brief overview of the mission to train new air superiority pilots.
Following that, a bus took the group onto the active airfield to watch eight F-15 Eagles leave for afternoon sorties. After the last jet took to the skies, the group headed to the wing conference room to continue their conversation.
The group discussed various opportunities to partner across the two organizations in the future. A prominent topic involved a geothermal power generation project that the wing is analyzing as a possibility to help the base become independent of the power grid.
Considering that OIT has pioneered much of the research into harnessing geothermal energy for heat and power generation, something they currently do on their campus, it is natural to discuss the project with them as the wing analyzes its feasibility.
Other topics of discussion included an internship program for students whereby they could garner practical experience at the 173rd Fighter Wing.
Additionally, OIT president, Dr. Nagi Naganathan, stated that he would also like to see the possibility of a Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment starting the school, potentially making it the first ROTC program in the Klamath Basin.
Ultimately the meeting underscored the mutual benefit both parties may reap from a partnership going forward and it illustrated once again why the 173rd Fighter Wing works hard to grow and maintain the support of the local community.