Florida senator pays visit to America’s AOC

Written by  //  May 3, 2012  //  Feature Stories

By Capt. Jared Scott
601st AOC Public Affairs

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (May 3, 2012) — Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made his first visit to the 601st Air and Space Operations Center, often referred to as “America’s AOC,” and met with members of the 101st Air and Space Operations Group here May 1, during a familiarization visit to meet personnel and have a firsthand look at AOC capabilities defending America’s skies.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio (left) greets Brig. Gen. Christopher Coates, Continental US NORAD Region Deputy Commander, and Brig. Gen. Joseph Balskus, Commander Florida Air National, during a recent visit to Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla. Courtesy photo

Senator Rubio was joined by State director Todd Reid, Region director Kris Tande, and Military Legislative Assistant Brian Walsh.

“Any time America’s AOC has a visit from Florida leadership it validates to our members just how important their jobs are,” said Col. Randy Spear, 601st AOC commander. “America’s AOC is a world-class facility and our members are second to none. I echo my fellow AOC leadership staff when I say that we feel it is very important to share with government officials and Florida leaders the vital mission that we do here; vital not only for the state of Florida but for the nation!”

The 101st Air and Space Operations Group (AOG), a Florida Air National Guard unit, provides manning for the 601st AOC to fulfill its mission of defending the homeland.

“It’s an honor to have Senator Rubio and his staff visit us here at America’s AOC to see what the Florida Air National Guard is doing at Tyndall,” said Col. Tom Cucchi, 101st AOG commander.

During their visit, the senator received a tour of the facilities. Included in the tour was a visit to the operations floor where members of America’s AOC monitor air traffic across the continental United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

“It’s an honor to be here with the men and women of America’s AOC. We are proud to have them here in Florida and are grateful for their service to our nation,” said Senator Rubio.

The 601st AOC is responsible for detecting, deterring, defending and if necessary, defeating any aviation threat to the citizens of the United States and to U.S. critical infrastructure.

On June 1, 2007, the 601st AOC opened the doors on its state-of-the-art, 37,000 square-foot, $30.5 million air and space operations center.

This facility enhances the 601st AOC’s ability to protect America’s skies from attack, as well as provide lifesaving relief during natural and man-made disasters.

For more information on America’s AOC or its mission visit www.facebook.com/americasaoc.