First grade students from the Family Life Academy of Tucson paid a visit to the installation April 23.
More than 20 students, along with family members, visited the 358th Fighter Squadron and the 55th Rescue Squadron to get an inside look at their mission.
“It was around first grade that I decided I wanted to be a pilot,” said Maj. Michael McKee, 358th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot. “I looked up into the sky and saw that plane and I haven’t looked down since. So, I enjoyed interacting with the kids and answering their questions.”
The children watched a video on each squadron’s mission, followed by some hands-on demonstrations where the kids got to try on equipment such as helmets and flack vests.
“It’s good for the kids to get an up close look at what the military does,” said Linda Manas, FLA 1st grade teacher. “They know they’re heroes and they keep us safe. Now they get to see how they do it.”
The visit was set up by Capt. Raymond Boyer, 355th Fighter Wing chaplain, whose children attend FLA.
“It’s always a positive thing when you can ‘break down walls’, so to speak, between an installation and the community,” said Boyer.
Most of the children present were between the ages of six and seven.
“At this age, I think children are really influenced by what they see,” Boyer said. “It’s also a very moldable age, so I wanted to expose them to something that could be potentially life changing. After talking with the Airmen, and seeing the videos on their missions, one or two future pilots or crew members could have walked out of their today.