Friday, June 22, 2012

TOP STORY >> Trophy back at air base

The Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council this week was presented with the Abilene Trophy, which recognizes the community that provides the “finest support” to an Air Mobility Command unit.

This is the second time the council has received the award. The council also won the trophy in 2010 for its support of the air base.

At a luncheon Wednesday, a promotion campaign was un-veiled using the slogan, “The Little Rock Difference: Rock & ROLE.”

The logo features two C-130s flying inside a red outline of Arkansas, with the words “ROCK” and “ROLE” prominently featured.

The top and bottom of the logo feature blue bands with the phrases, “Little Rock Air Force Base” and “What’s Your Role?”

The base is known as “the Rock.” “ROLE” stands for Responsive, One Team, Leading and Excellence.

The idea for “the Little Rock difference” came from Col. Mike Minihan, former commander of the 19th Airlift Wing. Rep. Tim Griffin (R.Ark.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, picked up the phrase and has used it in speeches and suggested the marketing campaign.

The community council plans to use this campaign to heighten the awareness of the importance of the base to the entire state, as well as individual communities.

According to council president Larry Biernacki, “This is an exciting new concept to let the public know how important the base is to all of us. It also lets the base know our support for it is immeasurable. We are eager to see this develop into a major brand for the base.”

The council unveiled a video that can be viewed at

A committee headed by Larry Wilson, president and chief executive officer of First Arkansas Bank, came up with the concept over the last six weeks.

Roger Sundermeier, marketing director at First Arkansas Bank and Trust, did the conceptual drawings for the design.

Kevin Clay did the video that was first shown at the luncheon.

In the video, Minihan and current commanders at the base praise the relationship between the base and the community.

Griffin also appears in the video and stresses the importance of the air base to the community.

“Little Rock Air Force Base plays a critically important role in our nation’s defense capabilities and is an integral part of Arkansas’ economy, culture and family,” Griffin said in a news release.

“The partnership between ‘The Rock’ and the community is a unique example of excellence, and, together, they are one team and responsive to the needs of each other. This is how LRAFB and the community council differentiate themselves from other communities with air bases and what led to the creation of ‘The Little Rock Difference.’

LRAFB is known as the “Center of Excellence” for training C-130 crews from all services, including 27 nations that train here annually. It has a $700 million economic impact in Arkansas, and is in the top five employers in the state.