DeWine, Air Force general celebrate region’s partnership before NCAA game

Ohio’s governor and the Air Force chief of staff celebrated the military’s branch’s 75th anniversary Wednesday by highlighting the good relationship the military has with the Dayton community.

“You’ll find no place in the country where that relationship is any better than it is right here in the Miami Valley,” Gov. Mike DeWine said.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is the catalyst behind 32,000 direct jobs and 103,000 indirect jobs in the Dayton region, as well as 17% of the region’s economy.

DeWine and General Charles Q. Brown Jr. attended the Big HOOPLA event at Carillon Historical Park shortly before the Wright State Raiders took on Bryant University in an NCAA Tournament’s First Four basketball matchup. The governor said Ohio is a friendly state for active-duty military and veterans.

“We work every single day to make sure that is true,” DeWine said.

Confirmed as Air Force chief of staff in August 2020, Brown, a four-star general, is the senior uniformed Air Force officer. He’s responsible for the training, equipping, and organization of nearly 700,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve, and civilian forces, including those based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He said Dayton has played an important part in the Air Force’s history.

“The thing I do think about is how important it is we work with our communities, how important it is to our Airmen and what we are able to do as an Air Force,” Brown said.

He said the Air Force is crucial to America’s security and provides the nation with air superiority and rapid global mobility.

“And we can’t do that by ourselves, we do that because of the very strong communities that our Airmen live in,” he said. “Most of our Airmen, although they work on base, they actually live in the community.”

DeWine said there is a member of his cabinet whose focus every day is on the state’s relationship with the military and noted that he signed an occupational licensing reciprocity bill that aimed to eliminate employment barriers certain military families faced.

“One of the ideas that we had early on is let’s make sure anybody who’s stationed in the state of Ohio and has children, no matter where their actual residence is, their children should be treated as in-state students for our state universities,” DeWine said.

DeWine said that he is still listening and wants to know how he can continue to make Ohio one of the best and most friendly states for the military.

“We’re going to continue to look for ways to do that and to make a difference,” he said.

Brown said childcare and education for their children, affordable housing, healthcare and spousal employment opportunities are important to Airmen and their families and often drive their decision-making as to what assignments to take and whether to stay in the service.

“We often say you recruit the airman, but you retain their families,” Brown said.

The Air Force is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

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