Impact of the MAC
By Senior Airman Jessica H. Smith, 366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 07, 2017
MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho -- Although some may constantly see all the events being held for the Military Affairs Committee, they don’t necessarily see what they do for Mountain Home Air Force Base, or the Air Force for that matter.
In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s groups of concerned citizens met and formed committees located at many different bases to ensure the protection of military assets in their communities.
“Businessmen got together and formed a group called the Military Affairs Committee or MAC,” said Mountain Home Mayor, Rich Sykes. “They raised their own funds and fought to keep the Air Force base here, and that’s what we’ve continued to do.”
Over time the MAC became part of the Chamber of Commerce serving two major purposes, explained Alan Bermensolo, MAC board advisor. One: acting as a conduit between the town and the base and two: acting as a volunteer action group to interact with the Air Force, Air Combat Command, congressional delegation – all the way down to state legislation – to further the interests of Mountain Home AFB.
In order to advocate for not only the Wing, but the Air Force as well, the MAC takes an annual trip to Washington D.C. This year the trip included a visit to ACC Headquarters, AF Headquarters, the Pentagon and Congressional Delegation as well as dinner with the Singapore Defense Attaché, explained MAC Chairman, Robby Robinson.
“It’s normally four people that go,” said Bill Richey, MAC board advisor. “We feel like if we take a small group we can sit down in any general officer’s office and talk … more than a briefing.”
During their latest trip the MAC discussed Singapore training as well as the future of the F-15s, the Military Treatment Facility transition, the water project and the rail partnership project.
Past issues the committee has advocated for include the implementation of privatized housing – quality and number of houses to be built – funding for the Logistics Readiness Squadron building, the dining hall and the fight against decreasing basic allowance for housing.
Although airmen may not see the direct impact of the MAC, through the group's action and ability to reach out to top leaders, the committee is helping every airman on base.
“Anything that we can do to help the Gunfighters – the military in all of Idaho – is what our primary focus is,” Robinson said.
Despite stepping down from the board after years of participation, Sykes is still heavily involved, feeling civilian counterparts – somebody outside the realm – is another tool the Air Force can use to enhance the mission.
“We understand that the Wing is a viable economic drive for Idaho – not just Mountain Home,” he said. “I want you guys to feel that you’re part of Mountain Home and that you’re family as well; if you need anything, we’re here for you.”