What is big, grey and flies at  400 miles an hour?  Hint:  It is not Rocky the Flying Squirrel.  It is a KC -135R, Air Refueling Jet, and Thursday I had a chance to fly along with a team of social media professionals as guests of the US.  Airforce.


Why would the Air Force invite a blogger  like me on this mission?  Because they get social media.  They understand that we reach an entirely different audience then traditional media.   During the flight briefing, our host:  TSGT Mark R. W. Orders-Woempner,  said something which summed it up for me.  He said:

If we don’t tell the Air Force’s story, someone else will.

The Air Force and Grission Base specifically have a terrific story to tell:

  • The 100+ buildings scattered across 1,265 acres are home to a military, civilian and contractor work force
  • Supporting the Air Force, Army and Marine Corps the base has a $130+ million annual economic impact on the local community
  • The base’s Air Traffic Control supports military and civilian aircraft operating between Chicago and Indianapolis
  • In addition to military functions, the base provides fire and emergency rescue for surrounding community
  • Home of the 434th Air Refueling Wing which supports our troops around the world.

Here is a quick look at what our day was like….

Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.

In addition to a wonderful adventure, and a chance to look behind the scenes at this amazing place, there were some great lessons for small business owners.

  • Contingency plans need both a communication and operational component.  The two pieces need to work together
  • Precise communication is at the heart of a successful mission. Whether you are trying to connect two planes mid air or finish a website on time, all team members need to be speaking the same language, with no room for miscommunication
  • Be willing to take people behind the scenes and let your customers really understand your process.  Help them be your advocates.

WTHR’s Nicole Misencik was along and prepared this report which aired on the local news a week after our flight: