Second Lady Karen Pence, Secretary of the Air Force Barbara Barrett and Sharene Brown, wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., were distinguished guests at Luke Air Force Base in Maricopa County, Ariz. last week.
Among the topics discussed by the featured speakers with military leaders were military spouse employment and suicide prevention.
Mrs. Pence thanked military spouses for their sacrifices and thanked Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for leading the way in addressing military spouse professional licensing issues.
Pence said that when she asked governors to help military families at an event the Pence family hosted in Washington D.C. when they were there for the National Governor’s Association, Ducey stepped up.
She alluded to how last year, Arizona became the first state in the United States to recognize professional licenses from other states for jobs ranging from barbers and contractors to nurses and dentists, who are required by state requirements to obtain specific licensure in a state in order to work.
She said she will keep bringing up the issue to governors until “every state has what Arizona has.”Mrs. Pence said that she was working hard to make sure that they could pursue their own careers.
“I have great appreciation for military spouses and it grows every time I visit another base,” she said.
“You are the home-front heroes, your stories of strength, courage and generosity inspire me and so many other Americans,” Mrs. Pence said. “I’ve met thousands of military spouses over the last four years and I continue to be amazed by your kind gestures, your tenacity and your incredible work ethic. You are the backbone of military families, and I want you to know that we see you, we thank you and we stand with you.”
Secretary Barrett recognized and praised the performance of several 56th Fighter Wing personnel and coined them for going above and beyond the call of duty.
“Every time a fighter zips across the Arizona sky, a pilot-in-training is one step closer to using his or her skills to protect the nation,” she said. “While Airmen here continue to train combat-ready forces, they also need to know their support system is being cared for at home. Military families are fundamental to maintaining the elite forces needed to protect the United States, and the Department of the Air Force is committed to military family well-being and support.”
Luke Air Force Base is named for the first aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor – 2nd Lt Frank Luke Jr. Luke’s 56th Fighter Wing was first activated on January 15, 1941, as the 56th Pursuit Group.
The 56th left for England January 6, 1943. During the following two years, pilots of the 56th destroyed more enemy planes and listed more aces than any other Army Air Force group in the 8th Air Force, including the top two aces in Europe.
The mission of Luke AFB is to train the world’s greatest F-16 fighter pilots and maintainers, while deploying mission ready warfighters.