Young Professionals visit 114th Fighter Wing

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Master Sgt. Chris Portice, 114th Maintenance Squadron avionics technician, explains to members of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network what his position at the South Dakota Air National Guard includes during a tour given at Joe Foss Field, S.D. on July 13, 2016.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Travis Schuring/released)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Master Sgt. Chris Portice, 114th Maintenance Squadron avionics technician, explains to members of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network what his position at the South Dakota Air National Guard includes during a tour given at Joe Foss Field, S.D. on July 13, 2016.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Maj. Travis Schuring/released)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -  Members of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network got an up close view of an F-16 launch from Joe Foss Field, S.D. during a tour and briefing given by members of the  South Dakota Air National Guard on July 13, 2016.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Nancy Ausland/Released)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Members of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network got an up close view of an F-16 launch from Joe Foss Field, S.D. during a tour and briefing given by members of the South Dakota Air National Guard on July 13, 2016.(U.S. Air National Guard photo by Senior Master Sgt. Nancy Ausland/Released)

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. -- Members of the Sioux Falls Young Professionals Network made a visit to the 114th Fighter Wing, South Dakota Air National Guard, July 12, 2016.

The YPN is a program of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and was established in 2009 to help young professionals in the area to grow professionally and network with their peers.  The visit to the Air National Guard was coordinated by the unit's Wing Executive Support Officer, Major Travis Schuring.

"Hosting the YPN allows us to showcase both the professionalism and capabilities of the 114th Fighter Wing to members of our community." said Schuring.  "Sioux Falls has always been a great supporter of the military and this visit allowed us to show a group of professionals what members of the Air National Guard; who might be potentially be their neighbors, coworkers, or employees do on a daily basis to ensure they are prepared to serve their local community, state, and country."

Twenty-five members of the YPN were given briefings by unit leadership and also by the Chairman of the South Dakota Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, retired Maj. Gen. Ronald Mielke.

Once the Assistant Adjutant General for Air for the South Dakota Air National Guard, Mielke now serves a vital role as the chairman of the SD ESGR.

"This visit is important not only for these young professionals, but also for the 114th Fighter Wing" said Mielke.  "These individuals work for employers who currently have or in the future might have fellow team members who are in the Guard. It's important they understand what the 114th Fighter Wing brings to our community and how they and their employer can support us."

After briefings and a quick lunch, the members were escorted to various locations around the base to get a close-up view of several shops on base.  Visits to the jet engine shop, phase, avionics, egress, and operations were just a few of the places they were allowed to observe.

Jennifer Hoesing, Stockyard Ag Experience and a member of the YPN was impressed by the unit's capabilities.

"I'm impressed by the transparency they have here.  I'm new to Sioux Falls and didn't know much about the military before visiting today." said Hoesing.  "There is a real feeling of team and trust here."

Another highlight for the visiting members was their chance to see the launch of the F-16 aircraft from a view not many outside the unit get to experience.  Members were escorted to the runway that runs parallel to one used to launch the jets and were able to feel and hear the power of the F-16 up close.

"I've always been aware the Air National Guard was here," stated Marty DesLauriers, UBS Financial Services and YPN member.  "I just didn't realize the size and scope of this unit and this visit helped me to understand that better."

Lauren Fosheim, YPN Manager with the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce worked with Major Schuring to coordinate this visit for the young professionals today and she hopes to continue to foster this relationship more in the future.

"This was a great opportunity for us and we greatly appreciate the members of the South Dakota Air National Guard for taking time to share with us today."  said Fosheim.