Manyak Takes the Reins of Outdoor Recreation

Manyak Takes the Reins of Outdoor Recreation

Columbus AFB and 14th Force Support Squadron welcomes Wesley Manyak as the new Manager of Outdoor Recreation (ODR). Manyak comes to Columbus from Kirkland AFB, New Mexico, where he served as the ODR Assistant Manager. His passion for the outdoors is what has driven him to a career in ODR in various capacities for more than 8-years. He was the Programmer at Holloman AFB for 4-years.

“My main goal here at Columbus is to get adventure programs going again for our military members and their families,” said Manyak. “I especially want to make sure we have the proper equipment and everything is up to the Air Force standards.”

Wesley does not only work in Outdoor Rec, he also loves anything outdoors. He enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, whitewater rafting, and just having fun with friends.
Manyak attended Clayton State University in Georgia where he played collegiate soccer for 4-years.

Experience System at the Bowling Centers Allows Users to Customize Their Entertainment

Columbus AFB Bowling Center

Experience System at the Bowling Centers Allows Users to Customize Their Entertainment

The StrikeZone Bowling Center at Columbus AFB continues to be one of the activities that in pressing on in spite of lingering pandemic and staffing issues. Since taking over, Bowling Center manager, Amanda Garza, has been constantly looking for creative ways to utilize the center for entertainment and a viable food option.

“The biggest challenge I’ve had since taking over the Bowling Center is the lack of adequate staffing,” said Garza. “We’ve been operating as a skeleton crew for the better part of the year, however the staff we do have are phenomenal. They are always willing to back each other up, never complain and just want to do their part (and then some) to provide the community with good food and fun experiences.”

The entire Community Services flight has played a vital role in the continued success of special events at the Bowling Center. Garza says everyone pitches in–it’s truly a team effort.

Boss & Buddy Bowling seems to be the most popular thing happening at the StrikeZone. Every Wednesday afternoon from 3-6pm, the center supports the community by providing a space to allow teams, coworkers, offices, and leadership to come together and blow off steam. It is often used as an opportunity to challenge other squadrons to see who’s the top dog on the lanes. The great thing about bowling is that anyone can do it regardless of skill. Every now and then a bowler will surprise everyone and come out with a huge win. Whether you bowl or not, you can always grab some food, a cold drink, and enjoy downtime with your team.

“As soon as we get some staff, we have so much planned!” Garza said. “Tournaments, leagues, squadron parties, birthday parties, going away celebrations, you name it!”

Starting in July the Bowling Center is debuting the Single Airmen Bowl Free, a R4R sponsored event. This is a totally free bowling experience for single airmen to get them out of the dorms and on the lanes, making the most out of their time on Columbus AFB.

The center recently installed a brand new Experience system. This system allows guests to select the “experience” they prefer to make it more entertaining. They have several choices of themes, environments and games to play available at the bowler console. The system has so many options. There is even a way to animate the players to be part of the graphics while they bowl!

Love for Art and an Eye for Creativity Drives the Staff at CAFB Arts & Craft Center

Love for Art and an Eye for Creativity Drives the Staff at CAFB Arts & Craft Center

The Arts & Craft Center has long been a source for custom framing and engraving services at Columbus AFB. It has also been very active in special art and craft events that provide an artistic outlet for all ages. COVID and staffing turnover has prevented the center from conducting these classes until now.

New Arts & Craft Manager, Bridget Cruz, is revitalizing the shop and will soon begin to offer various art, craft, classes, and activities.

Ms. Cruz started in September of 2021 and comes to us by way of Ft. Mead in Maryland. While her background is in Criminal Justice, her love for art and “creating stuff” has landed her in an environment where she can fulfill her passion. She is an accomplished artist with works in oils and watercolor media.

Did you know that the Arts & Craft center offers a variety of graduation framing packages? They feature special layouts and mating to tell the story of student’s training experience here at Columbus Air Force Base. Orders must be placed at least 3-weeks prior to graduation.
Arts & Craft’s engraving service can be done on just about any surface including metal, wood, or glass for signs, desk plates, name tags, plaques, trophies and more. Consult with the staff for your special project.

The frame shop can customize any painting, print, photo or needlework with our wide variety of style moldings in stock. The center has mat boards in a variety of colors, including acid-free mat boards for preserving special pieces of artwork. It also have non-glare glass that can be custom cut to fit your frame.
Dry mounting is also available to add a professional touch to framed posters, photos, certificates, etc.

The Arts & Craft center has a variety of aviation prints for purchase. Please call 434-7856 for more information.

Wings Over Columbus ’22 Makes History

The USAF Thunderbirds Perform at Wings Over Columbus 2022

The United States Air Force Thunderbirds headlined the 2022 Wings Over Columbus open house airshow with amazing precision.

Wings Over Columbus ’22 Makes History

April 1, 2022
By Airman 1st Class Jessica Haynie
14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. – Airshow history runs deep within the aviation community dating back to the first recorded airshow in 1909 the “Grande Semaine d’Aviation de le Champagne” in Rheims, France.

After World War I, pilots began performing at travelling air shows. The purpose of the airshows where to advance the field of aviation by providing a means to inspire and educate the next generation of future aviators.


Aerial stunts performed by Rob Holland at Wings Over Columbus 2022

Rob Holland performs his aerial acrobatics at Wings Over Columbus 2022.

This past weekend, Columbus Air Force Base did just that by hosting approximately 60,000 spectators from the city of Columbus and surrounding communities, marking the Wings Over Columbus Airshow and STEM Expo as the most attended airshow in CAFB history.

“Every single person I spoke to this weekend told me it was the best airshow they had ever seen,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Seth Graham, 14th Flying Training Wing, commander.

Col. Graham added that it is important to engage with the community and show them the capabilities of not only the 14th Flying Training Wing, but also the Air Force overall.

“We serve the American people and their tax dollars fund everything we do,” said Graham. “Most have never had the chance to step foot on an Air Force Base. Giving them an inside look at their Air Force is worth the effort.”

The Thunderbirds headlined the airshow and were joined by 14 other premiere aviation performers such as Rob Holland Ultimate Airshows, Trojan Phlyers, Aeroshell and the Air Combat Command A-10 Demonstration Team.

The STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Expo hosted 28 STEM exhibitors and students from 29 schools, officially benchmarking it as the first ever large-scale STEM Expo at CAFB.

“The vision was to bring the students here and immerse them in as much of a hands-on learning environment as possible,” said Tech. Sgt. Javier Cruz, 14th Flying Training Wing, NCOIC Public Affairs and STEM Expo coordinator. “Airshows serve to inspire but our goal was to take it to the next level and actually show them the career paths.”

“This was my family’s first airshow experience and we were completely blown away,” said Destiny Arnold, a nurse from Florida. “My sons were in awe every time an aircraft zoomed by. It is definitely an experience we will never forget.”

High School and college students from schools spanning over three states attended the event and had the opportunity to be inspired and educated by both the STEM exhibits and aerial performances.

“One of the AFROTC Cadets shadowing our Public Affairs Office told me the airshow impacted his perspective of the military by reminding him that even though he grew up in the military, there is still a lot he do not know,” said U.S. Air Force 2nd Lt. Peyton Craven, 14th FTW Public Affairs Officer. “He also mentioned that the airshow gave him the opportunity to meet so many great Airmen and he was able to see all the great opportunities he will have as a part of the Air Force.”

An event this large required nearly a year’s worth of planning by logistics, medical, security, flight operations, public affairs, safety and many other organizations around CAFB and the surrounding community in addition to their normal duties and pilot training mission.

“I want to thank our planning team, led by Lt. Col. Tim Thoren, for building a rock-solid plan,” said Graham. “I also want to thank the hundreds of volunteers without whom we would literally have nothing more than a plan on paper.”

The airshow cycle for Columbus Air Force Base is approximately every two calendar years.



Columbus AFB Bowling Center ManagerBowling Center Manager, Amanda Garza, brings experience and excitement to Columbus AFB StrikeZone. She comes to Columbus via Laughlin AFB, Texas, where she also served their base bowling center. Amanda is an AMA certified pinsetter maintenance mechanic.

“Pinsetters are fascinating and intricate pieces of machinery,” Garza said. “These are my babies and I take real good care of them.”

She went on to say, “The bowling centers has always been a popular place on base to hangout, drink a few beers with your buddies, eat a burger, and enjoy bowling. I hope to bring that level of participation back to CAFB. I am very excited about adding different programs and activities to enhance our patrons experience.”

One of the first things Amanda is re-introducing is the Friday night Neon Bowling where you get a prize if you get a strike with the neon head pin. She plans to have a Halloween themed bowl night with prizes for the best costume. Another feature she is bringing to the StrikeZone on Friday nights is beer and mixed drinks from the bar provided by the Club.

Columbus AFB is lucky to have such a dedicated Bowling Center Manager!

Bowling Center Reopening, Let the Good Times Roll!

Bowling Center Reopening, Let the Good Times Roll!

The Columbus Air Force Base Bowling Center was once the center of activity and a bustling gathering place for the base community. It has a rich history of bowling tournaments, family gatherings, and a popular hangout for service men and women, base employees, and retirees. However, over the past couple of years, it has struggled to stay afloat due to COVID-19 restrictions and retaining employees. The FSS Community Services Flight has risen to the challenge and is reopening the bowling lanes beginning this month, Monday through Friday. The grill will also have extended times to include dinner.

The Bowling Center staff is dedicated to providing a menu with many entrees as well as a wide range of beverage options including beer and mixed drinks. The full menu can bee seen on website.

Strike Zone Lanes are available for walk-ins or you can reserve your lane by calling the center. Bowling is available Monday – Friday (see the schedule) with Neon Bowling on Friday nights.

The 10-lane center has state-of-the-art Qubica Auto Scoring System with graphics, synthetic lanes, and an extreme light and sound system. There are two large screens that also show movies and music videos on Friday nights. The staff is also making plans for a variety of special programs such as leagues, squadron parties, Friday night Neon bowling, and holiday specials.

There is Something for Everyone at Outdoor Recreation

There is Something for Everyone at Outdoor Recreation

Cookers, coolers, fishing rods, cornhole, outdoor games, tables and chairs, generators, 2-wheelers and dollies, tents, rakes, shovels, bicycles, boats, RVs, campers, trailers, life jackets, surf boards, lawn mowers and other lawn care equipment, camping gear… you name it, CAFB Outdoor Recreation has something for everyone! ODR is here to supply all of your equipment needs to make your next outdoor excursion fantastic!

The Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway offers some of the best recreational bass fishing in the nation. The area also offers some of the best white-tail deer hunting and ODR has equipment to outfit your hunting or fishing expedition. There are plenty of wilderness and State Parks near by for camping and just spending time in nature. ODR has RVs, campers, tents, and all the gear you need for a great outdoor experience.

If you enjoy water sports, ODR offers a large variety of inexpensive boat rentals to including canoes, bass boats, deck boats, pontoon boats, and a Bass Tracker boat.
ODR’s Equipment Rental section offers a wide variety of home and garden equipment and tools, picnic supplies, grills, generators, open and closed utility trailers, carpet cleaners, and much more.

Outdoor Recreation offers many programs, events, and services throughout the year to give you an opportunity to enjoy the glorious outdoors either on a self-directed basis or as part of our numerous outdoor adventure programs. Some of the events ODR has conducted in the past include ping pong tournaments, tandem sky diving excursions, indoor rock climbing, volleyball tournaments, archery tournaments, paintball tournaments, skeet shooting tournaments, cornhole tournaments, canoe tug-a-war, and much more.

Plans are underway to utilize the old golf course for an outdoor adventure park with a variety of activities for families and the entire base community. This outdoor activity center will be called Venture 360, where the community and fun come full circle. More to come about this exciting new concept in outdoor fun in the near future.




Jason Montgomery took over as the CAFB Outdoor Recreation Manager in June of 2018 and literally hit the ground running. His journey started during the peak of the rental and pool season. He took up the challenge of his new role quickly and has not missed a beat since.

CAFB is in Jason’s blood having been born right here in the late 70’s. Prior to his Air Force Civilian career he served as a Mississippi State Park Ranger, which provided valuable experience for the outdoor services he provides.

“ODR has given me the privilege of serving again, via Airmen and families,” said Mr. Montgomery. “This base has meant so much to my community. I knew the position I had in front of me and felt honored for the opportunity. My hope is to continue expanding the foot-print of our operation by offering diverse outdoor options that boost morale and create healthy memories for the people of Columbus Air Force Base.”

He went on to say, “I think it’s important that every person ask themselves the question
‘why do I do what I do’. Each of us want to feel we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. I have the privilege of working with a team of incredible people with one common goal, improving the lives of others. I can’t imagine anything greater.”

Columbus AFB is lucky to have such a dedicated ODR Manager!


New, Inviting Look for the CAFB Library at The Commons

New, Inviting Look for the CAFB Library at The Commons

The Columbus AFB Library is still located in the BLAZE Commons only in a new and more visible place. A new storefront section close to the Commons open area will now make seeing and getting to the library much easier.

The Library, now open to in-person patrons, is a full service library with a dedicated and delightful staff ready to serve. They strive to connect both young and old patrons with information as well as encouraging them to experience the joy of reading.
In addition to fiction and non-fiction titles for all, the library offers audio books, eBooks, movies, and computer-based programs to meet educational and recreational reading needs. Wi-Fi access is available throughout the facility. The computer lab has three CAC-enabled computers and printing services.

The library’s collection also includes: the Air Force Chief of Staff Reading List to foster Airmanship; testing study materials (e.g., CLEP, DSST, ASVAB, SAT, ACT, GRE, and much more), Spanish books, printed newspapers and magazines for adults and children are also available. Its digital imprint includes OverDrive, RBDigital, Mango Language programs, and more. The Air Force’s eLibrary provides a wealth of resources for everyone.

Needless to say, the library staff has had to be extremely creative during the COVID pandemic which basically closed the library to in-person access. They have utilized social media, particularly Facebook, to continue providing informative and fun programs in a virtual environment. Almost daily live and recorded events allowed them to continue programs such as StoryTime, Blaze Book Club, Youth Book Club, and Fiber Arts with Megan using Zoom and Facebook. They added other virtual and interactive fun events such as Crazy Hair Competition, Name Your Car Day, Wisteria Wednesday, Joke Hoteline Day, and much more.

As restrictions are slowly being lifted, the library has begun hosting Story Time at Freedom Park. The Summer Reading Program kicks off this month with Story Time on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; Movie Mondays; special craft sessions, and other activities to encourage summer reading.




CT Salazar at Columbus AFB LibraryCharles “CT” Salazar has been librarian here at Columbus AFB for more than 2 years but did you know he is also an accomplished poet? In fact, he was the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters Award in poetry.

“Some of my favorite writers, including past National Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize recipient, Natasha Trethewey, have been recipients of this award in the past,” said Salazar.
“It was pretty neat to be nominated much less actually receiving the award.”

CT has a MFA in poetry and playwriting and is finishing up his Masters in Library Science degree. In addition to his library proficiency, he is writing a book that will be released in 2022.

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Salazar spent most of his weekends visiting libraries, universities, and bookstores for readings or guest lectures in other states.

Columbus AFB is lucky to have such an incredibly gifted librarian!