10th anniversary of inaugural flight of F-35

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The F-35 takes off into a clear blue sky after being delayed for nearly six hours for morning fog. Two f-16 fighter jets escorted test pilot Jon Beesley on his 35 minute test flight. Thousands of people lined up along Spur 341 and North Loop 820 to witness the inaugural test flight ten years ago. Photo by Keith Robinson

Amid the tweets from both President Elect Donald Trump and Lockheed Martin, a group of people including test pilots, engineers, assembly workers and others who worked on developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jet will be celebrating as the 10th anniversary of the inaugural flight takes place. Continue reading

Local ceremony honors, pays respects to military members

Kaitlyn Aryton, Miss White Settlement and Ady Forrester, Miss White Settlement Outstanding Teen along with members of the VFW Post placed wreaths at the base of the Veterans Park flag pole.

Kaitlyn Aryton, Miss White Settlement and Ady Forrester, Miss White Settlement Outstanding Teen along with members of the VFW Post placed wreaths at the base of the Veterans Park flag pole.

Members of the community along with City Officials, Military members and Veterans paid tribute on Monday to members of the armed forces who gave the ultimate sacrifice in providing our freedom. The ceremony was held at Veterans Park at 9 a.m. Continue reading

Lone Star Express airlifts crew for duty swap oversees

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We have seen the beginnings of the USS Fort Worth since its inception over 5 years ago to its commissioning in Galveston in 2012. Most recently the Literal Combat Ship (LCS) was put into action to assist in search and recovery efforts of the AirAsia flight in the Java Sea. Now Ben Fay, a Brewer High School graduate and Commanding Officer of VR-59,  has led a crew to Singapore to aid in the transfer of crew members aboard the ship. Continue reading

Recommendations for Enhancing Quality of Life Near NAS JRB

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People living and working in communities near Naval Air Station Fort Worth, Joint Reserve Base can get a sneak peek Aug. 21 at recommendations resulting from an 18-month quality-of-life study conducted with the input of community stakeholders. Continue reading

Base captain speaks to WS Council

At last week’s White Settlement City Council meeting, Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base (NASJRB) Captain Rob Bennett gave the council an update on several base related items.

“I’m honored to be here today,” Bennett said as he began his comments.

One thing touched upon by Bennett, who has been in charge of NASJRB for a year now, was the chance of a Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

“Of course we’re extremely sensitive to BRAC, so how do we ensure that we are well postured for the future?” Bennett said.

Bennett acknowledged federal budget challenges, and presented some reasons why he feels that NASJRB is important.  Among those reasons were relevancy, as he spoke of the high number of people from the base who have fought multiple tours in the recent wars.

Another way he said the base is important is due to its cost effectiveness.

“Obviously our budget is becoming more and more… challenging,” Bennett said.  “And it’s going to get a lot worse in the near future.”

He spoke about the cost effectiveness of reservists, and how they are always ready to be called upon when needed.  Bennett also called NASJRB a “national strategic asset,” listing reasons like location in the heartland of the country, ease of bringing people in and out via DFW airport, and the lack of severe weather.

The partnerships that the base maintains were also listed as reasons why NASJRB is important.

“The key one is obviously right across our runway,” Bennett said, referring to Lockheed.

He spoke about the jobs that Lockheed provides to the area, as well as their role in building planes.

Bennett also praised the demographics of the area, mentioning the high percentage of people who have careers in aviation.  Communication was another thing listed by Bennett, as he mentioned the Regional Coordination Committee (RCC) that exists here to bring local municipalities and the base together to work towards compatible development.

Bennett has helped to bring about the Texas Commander’s Council, which takes the idea of the RCC to a state level, bringing together base commanders from across the state so they can speak about common issues.

As he continued to speak of the importance of the base, Bennett shared an economic impact study done by the State Comptroller, which said the base’s economic impact on the area was $2.3 billion dollars.

The new gate onto the base was also discussed.  It is set to be located along Alta Mere Drive near Ridgmar Mall.  Bennett has spoken in the past about the need to reduce the amount of traffic at the main base gate, and the feeling is that this new gate will do that.

“We’re just about done with the design phase, and that (new gate) is going to alleviate a lot of challenges we have,” Bennett said.

Updating the council on an item that received a lot of news coverage, Bennett had good news regarding the C130’s, which were in danger of being moved off the base.

“It looks like those eight C130’s are not going to be moved out of here,” Bennett said.  “That is the plan as of now.”

Even though he confirmed that was good news, he did speak of upcoming challenges.

“There’s going to be some movement within the Department of Defense.  How broad sweeping?  I don’t know,” Bennett said.  “It depends on a lot of things.”

Despite those statements, he spoke optimistically about the state of NASJRB.

“I think we’re very well postured here,” Bennett said.

At the close of his comments, Bennett received a warm round of applause as Mayor Jerry Burns presented him with a bag of White Settlement themed items.

More homes coming to Sunview

Another item the council discussed was a proposed zoning change that would allow more houses to be built in the Sunview Addition of the city.  The change would make land currently set as commercial corridor to planned development.

A public hearing was held on this matter, but with no one present who wished to speak it was promptly closed.  The council then unanimously passed two resolutions, one to approve an ordinance for the rezoning, and another to approve the preliminary plat that will see a total of 22 new homes.  Lot sizes range from 6,000 to 9,000 square feet.

November elections set

The council unanimously passed two ordinances that set in place the election for Nov. 6.  The first will be the regular election for council seats.  Places 4 and 5 will be up, which are currently held by Paul Moore and Garry Wilson respectively.

The second election set by the council is a special election for the charter amendments that have been discussed over the past few months.  These will also be on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Executive Session

The council met in a brief closed door executive session to conduct the annual review of City Attorney Warren Spencer.  Upon reconvening in open session, council voted unanimously to give Spencer a $6,000 per year raise.

Planes could fly north under Air Force proposal

Less than 10 years ago the west side of Fort Worth welcomed the 136th Airlift Wing from the Naval Air Station in Dallas and now a proposed realignment of planes by the Air Force could move critical aircraft out of the area. Under the Air Force plan, part of the Pentagon’s fiscal 2013 budget, all eight C-130 Hercules aircraft flown by the 136th Airlift Wing of the Texas Air National Guard would be transferred to the Air Guard in Great Falls, Montana in two years. This move could dramatically weaken the Texas National Guard’s ability to respond to natural disasters.

To replace the C-130 aircraft, the 136thAirlift Wing would receive approximately 10 MC-12 Liberty planes, a twin-engine turboprop equipped with full-motion video and intelligence-gathering equipment.

This Texas Air Guard C-130 lifting off from NAS JRB Fort Worth could be relocated to Montana if the proposed realignment takes place.

If the C-130s are pulled out of Naval Air Station Fort Worth, then Texas, as well as Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida would have no similar transport aircraft to respond to hurricanes and other large disasters.

In recent years, the wing has deployed eight times to Iraq and Afghanistan, returning from four months in Afghanistan last summer, and has flown 10,000 hours in combat. But unlike most active and reserve Air Force units, the 136th has also responded to numerous humanitarian disasters over the last decade, including Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 and Gustav and Ike in 2008, as well as tropical storms.