DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Every newly assigned Airman to Dyess Air Force Base is required to attend the Jump Start orientation program, held the first Wednesday of the month. Airmen are encouraged to bring their families as well.
The Jump Start program began in March 2021. The previous orientation program, Right Start, was revised by the 7th Force Support Squadron to allow the different agencies around the base to share what they could do for Airmen and their families.
The program has two parts; a base orientation that covers the missions of the 7th Bomb Wing and the 317th Airlift Wing as well as all the services and organizations that support Airmen and their families. The second part of Jump Start takes Airmen to Abilene to discover everything the city has to offer.
The ‘storybook capital of the world’ is a mere five minute drive from Dyess AFB. “Until they discover the center of the Big Country--- Abilene, Texas, no one can appreciate what this city has to offer them during their assignment at Dyess AFB,” one newcomer said.
The residents of Abilene and Taylor County are committed to the men and women who serve their country every day at various occupations on Dyess AFB. As a result of their commitment to serving the Airmen and their families, the city of Abilene has received national recognition as the recipient of Air Force Global Strike Command’s Barksdale Trophy, an award to the city that improves the quality of life of military personnel and their families.
Abilene has also won the Air Mobility Command’s community support award. After winning the award for seven consecutive years, AMC decided Dyess AFB could no longer compete, but Abilene would become the judge of all future AMC base support packages. In 1999, the AMC award was renamed the Abilene Trophy.
Laurin Kocurek, the Abilene Chamber of Commerce’s Vice President of Operations and Communications accompanied the Airmen during the Jump Start tour, which included the Grace Museum, several popular restaurants, and the convention center. She also offered information about leisure outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, boating, and golfing.
“Any time Chamber volunteers and members of our community can welcome our incoming Airmen and their families to ensure they know how supported they are is essential,” said Doug Peters, President and CEO of the Abilene Chamber of Commerce.
“Our Airmen make so many sacrifices so they can protect our freedoms and it’s important for our organization to show that they have a community around them supporting them every step of the way,” Peters added.
First Lieutenant Katie Cashin, 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs officer, recently attended Jump Start.
“Jump Start was the most elaborate welcome program I’ve seen from any Air Force base,” Cashin said.
Cashin, who was also a military dependent, moved between installations over eight times in her lifetime.
“When I first found out that I was assigned here, I was worried that there wouldn’t be very many options for things to do,” but after Jump Start, I couldn’t be more thrilled to become a part of this welcoming community,” she said.
Downtown Abilene features small businesses, several museums, the Center for Contemporary Arts, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the restored Paramount Theatre and a story book sculpture garden.
One priority of Col. Joe Kramer, 7th Bomb Wing Commander, is to demonstrate a visible increase in pride in the installation and community. Informing new members about their mission and then integrating them into the community supports this priority and can help ‘Jump Start’ an Airman’s experience at Dyess AFB.
For more information on Jump Start, contact the Airman and Family Readiness Center at https://www.dyessfss.com/airman-family-readiness-center.