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NEWS | May 21, 2021

JBLE hosts LEAD Peninsula

By 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs 633rd Air Base Wing Public affairs

Members of the Learn, Explore, Absorb and Disseminate (LEAD) Peninsula Program visited Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, May 20, 2021, to learn the role JBLE plays within the Virginia Peninsula community.

According to the Virginia Peninsula Chamber website, LEAD Peninsula is a community program that stresses the importance of private, public, and nonprofit sectors of the region by providing community leaders the opportunity to interface with one another. Immersing members in these experiences helps to foster a sense of community and show how all actors of the community impact each other.

U.S. Air Force Col. Allen Herritage, 633rd Mission Support Group commander and former member of the organization, greeted guests at the beginning of their tour.

“We’re part of the Hampton Roads community and we’re proud to showcase our installation to community leaders so they understand the vital mission our service members are entrusted with to defend our nation,” Herritage said. “We haven’t had the opportunity to have in-person community tours for over a year due to COVID-19. It’s great to host members of LEAD Peninsula and foster opportunities for increased communication and cooperation among the local private, public and nonprofit sectors.”

LEAD members also received briefs from the 633rd Civil Engineer Squadron on projects such as mitigating impacts caused by rising sea levels on Langley Air Force Base’s coast lines and the construction of new infrastructure for the Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Campus.

Following their brief with the 633rd CES, the LEAD program members were shown an F-22 and its weapons systems, then briefed on the growing mission of the 1st Fighter Wing.

 “Today’s visit is the best visit so far,” said Anthony Jackson, Newport News Fire Department assistant fire chief. “Seeing what’s on base, how the jets are utilized, how advanced the technology is and how the Air Force accepts technology is key. The LEAD program gives us the ability to get out into the community and see the different aspects and different areas of responsibility within the whole Hampton Roads region.”

After touring these organizations on Langley Air Force Base, LEAD members interacted with units at Fort Eustis.

“As a member of the 2021 LEAD Program, it has not only enhanced my understanding of different aspects of the Virginia Peninsula, it has reinforced the critical importance of sustaining our military connections with our community,” said U.S. Army Col. Chesley Thigpen, 733rd Mission Support Group commander. “It’s great to have the opportunity to showcase JBLE Air Force and Army missions to our LEAD classmates and know that we are all part of the collective Virginia Peninsula team.” 

Thigpen led the group to the Engagement Skills Trainer’s indoor simulation range, a 3rd Port and Harbormaster tour, a Maritime and Intermodal Department simulator demonstration, and concluded with briefings from the 128th Aviation Brigade.