Category Archives: Blog

National Defense Authorization Act will benefit Barksdale

Greg Hilburn
USA Today/Louisiana Gannett

President Trump has signed a bill that will boost Barksdale, Fort Polk and Belle Chasse in Louisiana as well as give America’s military families pay raises.

The National Defense Authorization Act will give Barksdale’s B-52s a modern makeover, protect Fort Polk from the base closure list and and keep Belle Chasse’s F-15 fighters on guard for the Gulf Coast.

Trump said the bill “represents a momentous step toward rebuilding our military” during a signing ceremony Tuesday at the White House.

Congressman Ralph Abraham, R-Alto, the state’s only member of the House Armed Services Committee, has called the act “a home run for Louisiana.”

Congressman Mike Johnson, R-Benton, said the act begins “a new era of military readiness and prioritization.”

“This new law will ensure our men and women in uniform are taken care of, not only on the battlefield, but also here at home,” Johnson said.

Among the benefits for Louisiana bases:

A $109 million upgrade of the B-52 fleet that will keep the bombers airborne into the 2050s. “We depend on those big bombers daily on a global basis,” Abraham said.

For Fort Polk, the bill prevents the enactment of the Base Realignment and Closure initiative. “Fort Polk comes out on top,” Abraham said. “It prevents the closure, which was a real fear in the community, especially in 22014 and 2015. Now that’s not a concern.”

And at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans (Belle Chasse), the bill keeps the F-15 fighter jets in service. “We use those F-15s as interceptors along our coast,” Abraham said. “I’ve been to Belle Chasse, and there was a great concern about the future.”

The bill authorizes $700 billion in spending, which is even more than Trump requested.

“As decimated as our military has been during the last eight to 10 years this is really a shot in the arm and something critically needed if we expect our men and women in service to give us 24-hour protection,” Abraham said.

“This can put us back on the path to American military superiority,” he said.

Clay Higgins, R-Port Barre, also supported the bill when it passed the House earlier this year.

Higgins said defense spending reductions under former President Obama had weakened America’s military.

“After a decade of cuts that slashed almost 25 percent of the defense budget, Congress is rebuilding and strengthening our military,” Higgins said in a previous statement.

Greg Hilburn covers state politics for the USA TODAY Network of Louisiana.

Operation Bright Holiday to send 65 Airmen home for the holidays

By Col. (ret) West Anderson
Military Relations Chair

More than 10 years ago, it was observed morale often drops to its lowest level during the holiday season (Nov-Dec) for especially those brand new to the Air Force and who are usually experiencing their first time away from home. In addition to the first separation, new Airmen have limited finances to fund the cost of travel home for the holidays. The Barksdale Company Grade Officers Council (CGOC), led by the 2BW/CV, launched Operation Bright Holiday in 2008 in an effort to increase morale among young Airmen during their first duty station (i.e. first term Airmen).  The program’s goal was to raise funds through a base-wide social event and partnering with numerous base and local community organizations to orchestrate such an event.  Partner organizations included, Barksdale services orgs, the base Club, the Military Affairs Council (MAC), Bossier Chamber of Commerce and the First Sergeants Organizations. The Base-wide social event used for Barksdale’s OBH is an annual Oktoberfest held on the first Friday of October. Funds raised support virtually any form of travel to include air, rail, auto, and/or bus transportation.

This year, Operation Bright Holiday is sending 65 Airmen home for the holidays. Throughout the last 10 years, the program has sent more than 750 Airmen home for the holidays. The Company Grade Officers Council through Operation Bright Holiday will cover air, train, bus or vehicle travel costs for Airmen selected for this program.

Colonel (ret) West Anderson, a former 8AF Chief of Staff and 2d Bomb Wing vice commander, and now the Bossier Chamber Military Relations Committee Chair initiated OBH and Oktoberfest back in 2008 and continues to serve as the program mentor.

“We have sent Airman as far away as South Africa and the Philippines” Col Anderson said. Airmen selected to participate in OBH must be at Barksdale AFB as First-Term Airmen. Airmen applying for the program must demonstrate exceptional job performance. Higher priority is given to those Airmen with outstanding financial concerns which would prevent them from otherwise covering travel costs. OBH is not only a unique program within the AF, but nothing similar within the entire DoD exists.


Lt. Col. Fish named 2017 Young Professional of the Year

Lt. Col. William “Bill” Fish, Jr. USAF, was honored as the recipient of the 2017 Young Professional of the Year Award at the annual 40 Under 40 Awards and Gala Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Shreveport Convention Center.

“The Young Professional Initiative (YPI) is a core program of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, and 40 Under 40 is a great opportunity for us to celebrate the emerging leaders in our community,” said Dr. Timothy Magner, President of the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. “We are delighted to recognize this year’s class and to celebrate Lt. Col. Fish as the Young Professional of the Year for his leadership on behalf of our community and his service to our nation. Lt. Col. Fish is an excellent example of the caliber of our airmen and his engagement in the Shreveport-Bossier community highlights the positive relationship that exists between our community and Barksdale Air Force Base.”

Originally from Flagstaff, Az., Lt. Col. Fish is currently the Commander of the 11th Bomb Squadron at Barksdale AFB. As a member of the 2nd Bomb Wing, Lt. Col. Fish deployed multiple times to the Pacific and flew combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Fish continued his education earning a M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Louisiana Tech University and graduated from the US Army Command and General Staff College. Lt. Col. Fish returned to Barksdale following an assignment to United States Strategic Command where he helped shape the nation’s nuclear plans.

He has served in multiple positions including the 2nd Bomb Wing’s Director of Staff where he represented the Wing at multiple civic organizations including the Greater Shreveport and Bossier Chambers of Commerce.

“The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is proud to be a part of the 40 Under 40 Gala,” said Lisa Johnson, President and CEO of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce. “Each year, we see another class of talented young people engaging in the community and making a difference. Congratulations to the 2017 class. We are extremely excited to honor Lt. Col. William “Bill” Fish as this year’s Young Professional of the Year, as Barksdale Air Force Base and its airmen serve as an integral part of our community’s success.”

Dedicated to improving the quality of life in our region, Lt. Col. Fish helped establish the Roots for Boots Airman Sponsorship program, supports The Global Power Museum Association, and Evangel Learning Center among other organizations. Lt. Col. Fish has two children with his wife Jennifer.

Senior Project judges needed 

Volunteer as a judge at Parkway High School

Senior Project is an initiative and an original approach to learning experiences. The project contains four components: research, performance project, portfolio and presentation. The four components are combined to form a single project that involves the application of skills, and involves the guidance of a community leader.

The Parkway Senior Project Committee is looking for community partners and current/former educators to judge the seniors’ presentations. Each volunteer will be placed on a panel according to his or her availability.
The presentation times are December 12 and 13 from 8:00-11:45 a.m.
If you are interested in being a Senior Project judge, please email Ginny Nolen with your available time and date. A volunteer can judge for one session or both days.

Ambassadors needed for Walk-On’s Independence Bowl

Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar are looking for a select group of young women or men who will act as liaisons between the bowl, city, fans, teams, and players for the 2017 Independence Bowl.

They are in search of young women or men who are outgoing, courteous, reliable, and conscientious to serve the Independence Bowl festivities. Applicants must be available from Dec. 22-27.
If you or someone you know is interested in being an ambassador, please click here to apply!

Don’t miss this year’s 40 Under 40 class

Showcasing successful individuals in our community

Each year, 40 outstanding young business leaders are chosen to represent the Shreveport-Bossier area. This year marks the 11th year in which a 40 under 40 class has been selected and this year’s class includes airmen, educators, entrepreneurs, lawyers, veterinarians, and so many other admirable professions.
This year’s class of young professionals also believe in giving back and serving the community in which they work. The 40 young professionals will be recognized and honored at the 40 under 40 Awards & Gala on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Shreveport Convention Center. A cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. will kick-off the evening festivities and the dinner & awards will begin at 7:30 p.m. One outstanding young professional will also be named the Young Professional of the Year.
Be sure to reserve your spot today so you can support your favorite young professional! For ticket and table information click here!

What business will be named Business of the Year?

Nominate outstanding businesses/persons now

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2017 Business of the Year and the 2017 Business Person of the Year.
If you know a business that has really excelled in 2017 and has been a great asset within our community, please nominate them for our Business of the Year award here!
Do you know an outstanding Business Person who exemplifies a great boss or employee? Do they go above and beyond in their work as well as community involvement? The Chamber would like to recognize them, so nominate a local business person for our 2017 Business Person of the Year award here!

Bossier Chamber: A catayst for collaboration

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce is a collaboration hub that cultivates and shapes the business climate,

 representing more than 900 member businesses here in Bossier and Northwest Louisiana. We serve as a connector of business to business relationship-building across the region, adding value to your business by implementing our four pillars: Opportunity, Advocacy, Partnership and Education.


Have you seen what we’ve been up to lately? Here are a few headlines from the past few months:


YOUR VOICE: We have one question for you about your membership! so CLICK HERE to answer!

Northwest Louisiana welcomes top Air Force officials

Air Force Global Strike Command is hosting its Technology and Innovation Symposium this week, right here in Bossier-Shreveport, which has brought top Air Force officials including the Secretary of the Air Force to our area.
As part of the symposium, the Bossier Chamber has partnered with NLEP, GSCC, the Committee of 100 and DDA to host a booth at the expo portion of the event, to showcase what Northwest Louisiana has to offer the hundreds of visitors. The event will also feature the winners of the Global Strike Challenge, the world’s premier bomber, Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, helicopter operations and security forces competition with units from Air Force Global Strike Command, Air Combat Command, Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard.
While here for the symposium the Secretary of the Air Force, Heather Wilson, is also visiting the 2nd Bomb Wing and 307th Bomb Wing.

Inspire our community’s future leaders

Junior Achievement to hold free luncheon

You can help Junior Achievement of North Louisiana to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy by volunteering for the JA Inspires luncheon.


The Nov. 16 JA Inspires luncheon gives business mentors an opportunity to connect with local students. Mentors will complete group challenges with the students in round-table discussions at the luncheon, to be held at the Shreveport Convention Center.
Junior Achievement is inviting approximately 300 students and 150 mentors to participate in the lunch. If you plan on attending, please RSVP here or email Carly Koen!


For more information about Junior Achievement, visit their website.