Saturday, August 17, 2013


Crestview is home to a Dental School and Pharmacy School, and now a Physician Assistant Program with theirs eyes on Crestview.  Folks, I mentioned this in the past and nothing is really not going to change.  The strategic location of Crestview in the County, as well as, the State, because of Crestview's location on the I-10 Corridor, continues to make Crestview a prime location for growth.  More exciting news on the horizon.   

Medical school eyes Crestview for physician assistant program

By BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 at 16:17 PM.
CRESTVIEW — Florida's second-largest university is considering opening a medical campus in Okaloosa County's largest city, local officials said.
At the beginning of July, Dr. Pedro Gutierrez of the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine's new Physician Assistant Program toured Crestview and met with city leaders.
If the project comes to fruition, the school would teach students rotated from FIU's Miami campus and local students seeking a physician assistant degree.
City leaders are excited about the possibility of a second medical school opening in Crestview. The FIU program would join Florida A&M University, which operates a pharmacy school downtown.
Former state senator Dr. Durell Peaden encouraged the school to consider locating in Crestview, Mayor David Cadle said.
"They wanted to get into the Panhandle," Cadle said. "The student body is predominantly Hispanics from the Miami area. They don't get any experience in rural areas. This would be a big deal for our city and the whole region."
Gutierrez, the PA program’s associate dean and founding chair, is aware of the Crestview area’s benefits, having attended Northwest Florida State College and been stationed at Eglin Air Force Base and later, on the medical staff at Hurlburt Field.
Local and rotating FIU students
An expected source of students is local Air Force personnel with medical training who want to be licensed to practice after separating from the military, Peaden said.
The county's "great school system" was also a draw, Peaden said.
The program would most likely begin by bringing students from FIU to rotations at area hospitals before opening the full-fledged physician assistant program in Crestview, Gutierrez said.
School staff would arrive to establish the PA program several months before opening a campus.
Gutierrez will visit Crestview in September and give presentations on the proposed school for city leaders and the Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce
"I'm looking forward to going up there," Gutierrez said. "We are very excited."
No decision has been made on a site, but Crestview City Councilman Mickey Rytman said that during Gutierrez's previous visit, the Main Street building housing the Spy Chest shop was under consideration.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


If you are around the Eglin AFB any part of the day and you look up and you see one of the most state of the art airplanes flying over head, you can only smile with pride.  This program not only brings pride to those looking up, it also brings smiles to the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, U.S Air Force, as well as, a host of international countries who choose to make the F-35 their plane of the future.  With this said, we will have all these folks training with these planes, which has never been done before in one place.  Not only will we have the pilots training, we will have their maintainers here also.  What does this mean?  A whole lot of folks learning what Okaloosa County has to offer to the folks around the world.

F-35s take next step

Published: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 at 17:08 PM.
EGLIN AFB — The F-35s soaring through the sky are continuing to ramp up their training operations and have started to simulate some combat-type missions.
For the first time last month, the Joint Strike Fighter was controlled by an air battle management squadron on the ground at Tyndall Air Force Base.
Until then, little F-35 training had involved air battle managers.
“It’s much more realistic. It’s what we would do in the real world,” said Col. Stephen Jost, commander of the 33rd Operations Group at Eglin Air Force Base.
He said the development is a reflection of the maturity of the F-35 program.
As more aircraft have arrived at Eglin in recent months, the training schedule has become more predictable and the group has flown more sorties and put more students through the program, Jost said. The F-35s now are ready to fly missions that more closely simulate what they might see in combat.
The air battle managers are with the 337th Air Control Squadron, which falls under the 33rd Operations Group but is stationed at Tyndall in Panama City.
The 337th trains about 130 students a year to become air battle managers.
Their radar equipment provides a much broader view than the radars inside the F-35 — a “God’s-eye view,” as Jost calls it. The equipment can pick up anything flying over the Gulf of Mexico from Houston to down and around the Florida peninsula and then up the East Coast to Virginia Beach.
The managers’ job is to communicate any information to the pilots that might be needed regarding other aircraft or flight conditions — to paint a picture for the pilots of what is going on in the air. They also are charged with managing various aircraft and deciding where to use them in a combat situation.
From the command post at Tyndall, known as the Doghouse, the air battle managers talk to F-35 pilots over a radio.
“It’s a phenomenal first step for us,” said Lt. Col. Todd Smith, commander of the 337th at Tyndall. “Our instructors were vying over who got to be the first on the Doghouse radio to be able to talk to the F-35. It’s the bright, shiny penny; something they can brag about.”
The partnership also is the beginning of learning how air battle managers in the future can support the F-35.
“It’s a small event in the course of a day, but in the course of what we are trying to do it’s significant,” Smith said. “We are now starting the process of fully understanding what an F-35 brings to the fight and, more than that, what they don’t bring that they are going to be reliant on others for.”
The squadron at Tyndall will work with the group to develop procedures and help put its mark on a program that will be around for decades, he said.
Since they started about two weeks ago, the group has flown three to four formations a week using air battle managers. The formations of usually four aircraft practice loading simulated weapons, calling those weapons up once an aircraft has been targeted and simulating employment of the weapons in a tactical environment, Jost said.
By next year the jets will be able to use data links, which air battle managers will use to send electronic information to the planes, he said.
For now, it’s the fundamentals on both the F-35 side and the air battle management side, but it’s good practice for everyone, Jost said.
Air battle management has a language of its own.
All new F-35 pilots are required to have previous experience with other fighter aircraft, but with little combat practice recently they might have become rusty in their command of the air battle management lingo, which uses few words to convey a lot of meaning.
“We are kind of dusting off the cobwebs of working with air battle managers,” Jost said. “There’s an entire library of terms we use in a tactical environment that requires practice and keeping proficient.”
The air battle management students are all undergraduates who also benefit from the practice.
When they complete training at Tyndall they will be assigned to operational units. Most will fly in E3 planes that provide battle management from the air in a combat zone.
 F-35s from Eglin also recently took to the sky to fly in formation with F-22s, which are based at Tyndall and receive air battle management support from the 337th.
Both developments reflect the F-35s movement toward coordinating with other squadrons and other aircraft, Jost said.
 “This is where the Air Force is growing toward and where the fifth generation (aircraft) is going,” he said. “Everything that has taken place just in these last few months has been really foundational but absolutely vital to where we are going to be going in the future.”
Contact Daily News Staff Writer Lauren Sage Reinlie at 850-315-4443 Follow her on Twitter @LaurenRnwfdn