Bossier Chamber military leadership forum goes virtual

Stacey Tinsley | Bossier Press-Tribune

The Bossier Chamber of Commerce gathered top leaders from Barksdale Air Force Base and other local military units Thursday for its annual Military Leadership Forum.

Guest speakers included leadership from multiple military units, including the Louisiana National Guard in Shreveport-Bossier, Barksdale Air Force Base, Army Reserve Center, U.S. Navy Reserve, MEPS, Marine Corps Reserve, and Camp Minden.

Each speaker briefly spoke about different topics ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic to military readiness. 

After introducing himself and describing what the Shreveport National Guard 2-108 Cavalry Squadron mission is. Lt. Col. Stephen Luebbert described how instrumental the Shreveport National Guard 2-108 Cavalry Squadron has been to Louisiana during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Hurricanes that have devastated the southern part of the state in 2020.

“On the state and community side. I don’t have to tell you how crazy 2020 has been. It has certainly tested our ability as a National Guard formation. To provide that all important state mission that we’ve been asked to do with COVID and storms, while simultaneously getting ready for a one year combat deployment. We are the largest guard unit in Northwest Louisiana. We’re responsible for multiple parishes from the Texas/Arkansas border, across to Monroe, then kinda down through Toledo bend and across to Alexandria,” Luebbert said.

“We have armories here in Natchitoches and in Coushatta. Our federal mission as a squadron makes us kinda particularly useful during hazard events. I have everything from high water vehicles, to security. We can do a little bit of everything. And it’s made us particularly useful to the state. This year we have done everything from manning a COVID site here in Shreveport, to doing testing, to providing boats during the hurricanes,” he added.

Following Luebberts remarks, 307th Bomb Wing Air Force Reserve Command, Col. Steve Kirkpatrick, spoke about a topic that has affected everyone since the beginning of the year. COVID-19.

“This has been a tough year. We keep the normal protocol just like everyone else, but sometimes we have to assume some risk —s pend a lot of time making sure that we’re able to still do the mission. There’s really two primary reasons why we do that. First is because our enemies are watching. We need to make sure that they understand that regardless of COVID or any other obstacle, we’re always ready. Secondly, the American people. Our communities need to make sure that they know we have their back and are going to protect them, even during this crazy time. We couldn’t do this job without great support from the community,” said Kirkpatrick.

Camp Minden Commander, Lt. Col. Harry W. Wilson, spoke about the importance Camp Minden has on not only the military, but to the Webster/Bossier community.

“Camp Minden effectively manages both the existing resources here, the infrastructure, the facilities, the land, and personnel to maximize opportunities. For not only for the military, but also the commercial operations that we have here. And that’s important for a lot of these outlying cities, communities, both in Webster and Bossier Parishes,” said Wilson.

The Military Leadership Forum, presented by sponsors Barksdale Federal Credit Union and the Cyber Innovation Center, was created to increase community awareness about all of the major happenings in our military community and gain insight on the day-to-day operations for the Air Force, as well as our local guard and reserve units.