Wichita Falls_People from all the armed forces have come together at Sheppard Air Force Base to share in something they love. Something a lot of people might not ever want to have to do - jump out of an airplane.
Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines - our armed forces - joined together in this unique way. The It was a special jump for Army Lieutenant Colonel Keith Hanley of the Southern Command Jump Team. "Today was my 19 hundredth jump. I normally don't count, but I've been keeping my log book up to date and I'm just lucky enough to make that many jumps," he says.
What makes this parachute team so special is that they are all members of the Special Operations Services from all branches of the service. Army Colonel Hans Bush is a Green Beret in the Army and has been jumping since 1979 - he still loves it. "I get excited. I really enjoy this. I think everybody on the team is the same way," he says.
It takes a lot of preparation, but they really love what they do. "The excitement and the view - once you are up there flying around, it's amazing - look out and see all of God's creation below," says Bush.
And, Friday also marked the official ribbon cutting ceremony opening the F-22 Maintenance Facility at the base. The F-22 Raptor is a new breed of fighter jet. Boeing F-22 Sustainment Director Pam Valdez has worked for two years to see this training site come to Sheppard. Now, it's finally finished - but it isn't just any schoolhouse for any plane. "The F-22 is the crown jewel of the Air Force. It is by far the most advanced aircraft in the world," she says.
"What's unique about this facility is the fact that it houses the F-22 maintenance under one roof," says Valdez. It's the first training site to do this. It has 14 classrooms, 5 labs and there will eventually be 18 trainers - sections of the aircraft that provide realistic training for weapons, engine repair and replacing all the hardware in the plane. "That is why this facility is so well designed and so integrated, to allow that great step for these young airmen."
The Air Force plans to begin training on the F-22 in January of 2008.
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