435 FTS breaks records, learns leadership and gives back at San Antonio Food Bank

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  • Joint Base San Antonio Public Affairs

Members of the 435th Fighter Training Squadron here broke single-day food packing records at the San Antonio Food Bank Dec. 12 during their Wingman Day community outreach project.


The group of student-pilots from Class 16-DBR, obliterated the record for most meals packed in one day, putting 49,875 pounds of food on 95 pallets for distribution to the local community in the form of 39,900 meals to 3,325 families.


“Getting out and helping your neighbors, there’s nothing better,” said Maj. Brandon Lavalley, 435 FTS flight commander and a reservist.  “Being a proud community partner and assisting those in need is really a great feeling.”


The San Antonio Food Bank provides food to more than 500 agencies in 16 counties across south Texas, with a mission of fighting hunger in the region through food distribution, programs, education and advocacy.


Although the work was fast and frenetic, the student-pilots walked away feeling energized at the opportunity to volunteer in the community.


“We had a great time doing this,” said 1st Lt. Zach Jackson, 435 TRS student-pilot. “Volunteering a few hours of your time on a Saturday and being able to have this much of an impact, it’s pretty neat.”


The idea to spend a day at the food bank came after Lavalley worked with Bank of America-San Antonio President Kenny Wilson and Human Resources Director Jodi Irvin during an interview about leading with balance.


“Mr. Wilson talked to me about reaching out to the community to help me develop as a leader,” Lavally said. “Taking on a leadership role in different aspects of life outside the military really opens your eyes and takes your leader skills to the next level.  I recommend it to anybody.”


About the 435th Training Squadron

The 435th Fighter Training Squadron conducts Introduction to Fighter Fundamentals (IFF) student training in nearly 50 T-38C Talon aircraft and trains IFF instructors for Air Education and Training Command at large, as well as approximately 150 students annually from the United States, Iraq, Japan, Poland, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore.  Graduate pilots and combat systems officers are prepared for follow on assignments in the Combat Air Forces' F-15E Strike Eagle, F-16 Fighting Falcon, A-10 Thunderbolt II, F-22 Raptor, or F-15C Eagle aircraft.