My recent trip to Phoenix included a visit to Luke Air Force Base. Visit any military base and what initially captures your attention is the spirit and enthusiasm of its inhabitants. Next are the slogans. Luke’s water tower greets you with “Welcome to Fighter Town”.
A prominent building encourages: “Aim High Fly Fight & Win”.
The focus on physical fitness suggests athletes preparing for competitions. Football, soccer, basketball?
None of the above. Luke Air Force Base is all about jet planes and the pilots who fly them. Jets are constantly taking off and landing as the pilots constantly hone their skills. They are supported by ground and air crews without whose capabilities the pilots could not fly. The F-16 is being phased out at Luke but it has been designated as a pilot-training site for the new F-35.
Luke is as clean, crisp and appealing as Mayberry. Families here live their lives both intimately entwined with the lives of their military fathers and mothers and filled with the daily activities of families outside military bases.
The legacy of the base is ever-present through the displays of generations of jet aircraft that have been housed at, and flown out of the base.
The jets themselves are covered with the symbols of their power and purpose:
Hate war, love peace? So do they.