Marana flyboys

Marana’s interns share their summer experiences.

Anthony HunterIt was a good day gone great. Every day that I get to work with the Town is another day where I count my blessings. Every once in a while there are the little bonuses that put it over the top. Last Thursday was a day like that.

 I had wandered over to Karrie Moriarty’s desk to see if there were any fun meetings or events happening that day, and as usual she went above and beyond to give me an answer. Not only was there a fun event happening, but it involved an F-35 II Lightning flight simulator.

Say no more.

Sargent Aerospace and Defense invited the Town to send representatives to attend an event celebrating its involvement in the manufacture of a part of the fighter plane. The F-35 is designed for the ability to hover, like one of those Harrier planes you may have heard of in the past. Only the F-35 can do more than hover, a whole lot more. Sargent’s actuator is the part of the plane that helps to open the top door when the hover function is needed. Pretty crucial component. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the event, but I figured it had to be cool.

Deputy Town Manager Jamsheed Mehta, fellow intern Heath Vescovi-Chiordi and I arrived at Sargent thinking this was going to be a small event just for us, or, at least, just for the Town. This turned out to not be the case.

It was a star-studded event, Arizona-style. At the entrance, as we were getting our badges, Shirley Scott of the Tucson City Council chatted with Heath and me for a minute, commiserating about how we three had to be given ad-hoc badges that were markedly less snazzy than the others.

Soon enough we were escorted into the event area, cordoned off from the rest of the manufacturing plant. There were dozens of folks milling about, all of whom looked to be generally important in the part of our industry that is the cross-section of military and government.

More important than all of this, there were delicious snacks. This is the general area where we ran into our compatriot, Planning Director Ryan Mahoney, who had arrived at the event unbeknownst to the rest of our crew. Our pack was growing stronger by the minute.

After visiting the food table, we all got to watch Congressmen Trent Frank and Ron Barber operate the flight simulator, dispatching their airborne enemies with grace. (I actually don’t think the simulator had any fight scenes, but I’m sure they would have done well if so.)

All in all, it was a surprising addition to what might have been just another day at the office. As usual, there is never a dull moment here at the Town of Marana.

Anthony Hunter is a Master of Public Administration candidate at the University of Arizona. 

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