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August 2, 2013

Cub Scouts explore visit Edwards AFB

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Rebecca Amber
Staff writer

Cub Scout Pack 119, from Santa Clarita, Calif., visits the F-16 Shadow Fleet for a close-up of the aircraft and a chance to interact with Airmen that maintain it.

Cub Scout Pack 119, from Santa Clarita, Calif., got an up close look at what Edwards AFB is all about†during a†tour July 26.

The day started with trips to the control tower where the pack was given a unique, panoramic view of the base and some aircraft in flight. In the training room, the wingmen assisting in the tour used a simulator to show how control tower operators perform their jobs.

“There was this globe that tells you if you’re upside down or heading upside down in the [control tower],” said Bear Cub, Brody Doriguzzi, “I like seeing the cool airplanes and the engines. They look really cool.”

Doriguzzi’s brother, Rhys, was much more interested in the weapons systems.

“I like the cages where they carry the big giant bombs in the wings,” said Rhys.

Inside the 412th Maintenance Group building, the pack toured the tire shop. The group was in awe of the size of the tires used on the B-1 Lancer, that is, until they saw the B-1 in person and the tires suddenly appeared small in comparison. They asked questions like, “How many bombs does it carry?” and, “where does the pilot sit?”

“Our sole purpose at Edwards is test,” said,†Master Sgt. James Gerber,† 412th MXG.†”Companies make parts and they want the Air Force to buy them, so we test them. And we make sure that they work as advertised.”

In the machine shop, they saw the casing of bomb, without any explosives inside and samples of metals that had been drilled. They were also taken to the wood and plastic shop which uses a vacuum- forming machine to create aircraft parts, the same machine that is used to make model cars and outdoor restaurant signs.
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The scouts were invited to walk around an F-16 Shadow and T-38 Supersonic Trainer, giving them a close-up view of the engines and under the wings. Two pilots sat in the cockpit of the F-16 and answered any questions the Cub Scouts had regarding the aircraft.

“I think it’s great to help shape young minds,” said Senior Airman William McFarland, 412th Maintenance Group. “To show them what the world is about, to show them what we do and give them a different perspective on what we’re doing compared to what they see on TV. There’s a real human side to everything we do.”

After a visit to the NASA gift shop and cafeteria for lunch, the group visited the F-35 Integrated Test Force’s. According to Smith, only one other scout group has had the opportunity to†see the Joint†Strike Fighter†before.

The tour ended with a trip to the Air Force Flight Test Museum and a demonstration of the military working dogs from the 412th Security Forces Squadron.

A Cub Scout enjoys the view from the Edwards control tower July 26 during a tour facilitated by the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.

“They always want to see a demonstration of a dog biting the handlers [wearing protective gear],” said Master Sgt. Bryan Smith, 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron.

The Cub Scout tour was arranged by the Air Force Sergeants Association, which is the charter organization for Pack 741 on base. AFSA reaches out to off-base scout groups to plan tours which help students meet patch or belt loop requirements for the students. The Edwards tour fulfills one of three components required to achieve a summer activity badge.

According to Smith, the committee chair for Pack 741, all of the escorts for the event were 31st TES military volunteers.

“I love Cub Scouts,” said Smith, “I love to show people the aircraft; we never know what these boys might turn out to be in the future and this might be an encouragement for them to join the military or [become interested in] aviation.”

“Last month we had an Eagle Scout who never really knew much about the military and he was very curious about going into the Air Force Academy as an Eagle Scout,” said Smith. “It opens their minds about something else.”
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In Smith’s opinion, the boys were most intrigued by the weapons systems and bombs. “Where do the bombs go?” “Where do they fall out of?” were some of the questions asked by the young scouts.

As the Cub Scouts graduate into the Boy Scouts, they are taught “life-saving and survival skills.” The goal is to “build them up” for life later on. Smith added that boy scouts generally have a lot of knowledge about their surroundings at an early age.

“This is the way that the boys are actually interjected into society,” said Smith. “We take them out into the wilderness and teach them all kinds of aspects of survival and camping. We teach them that there are things like [military aviation] and it’s more than just video games at home.”

Smith added that the Boy Scout program builds character, integrity and discipline.

“They can later carry that on into military life. In military life you need that integrity and honesty and that is built into Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts at a younger age.”

“This is exciting for us as Cub Scouts because it gives us a chance to go out and see what our servicemen are doing and to see the awesome planes that they maintain and they’ve been so gracious to us,” said Clay Calhoun, Pack 119 club master. “With these types of tours it’s great to be able to get up close [to the airplanes].”




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