Air Force

June 22, 2012

Academy cadets learn operational AF ropes

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Photo and story by Airman 1st Class Grace Lee
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Roger Cowart, 56th Medical Support Squadron medical simulation specialist, shows U.S. Air Force Academy cadets how to properly apply a tourniquet to a patient using a simulator dummy June 11 at Luke Air Force Base. The cadets visited Luke’s education and training building as part of the academy’s Operation Air Force program that allows cadets to visit military installations to get a better understanding of officer careers.

Thirteen U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, most of who are going into their junior year, visited Luke Air Force Base June 4 through Thursday as part of the Operation Air Force program. The cadets are the first of three groups that will be visiting Luke this summer.

Operation Air Force is a volunteer summer program that allows cadets to gain more knowledge and a clearer picture of how the operational Air Force functions.

“OPAF exposes cadets to actual work environments and specialty areas of operational units,” said 1st Lt. Christopher Clawson, 56th Logistics Readiness Squadron customer service officer-in-charge. “It also shows them how different squadrons and agencies interact to achieve Luke’s mission.”

According to the 2012 Operation Air Force syllabus, the overall experience is focused on enhancing cadets’ appreciation of the roles and interactions of operations and support units. Additionally, it challenges the cadets to develop the skills, knowledge and responsibilities in order to smoothly transition from the military academy to an officer of character.

At Luke, cadets had a chance to see real Airmen do what they do every day and how it correlates to what they’ve learned so far at the Academy.

“So far my favorite tour was with the 56th Civil Engineering Squadron explosive ordnance disposal,” said Cadet Matthew Schneider. “For me, it seems to be more applicable to what we do today in the Air Force, with the current improvised explosive device situation and the amount of convoys the EOD does.”

For many cadets, the OPAF program gives more understanding of the Air Force and helps the cadets narrow career field choices, as well as making secondary choices.

“The Operation Air Force program is great because it’s shown me what the real Air Force is like,” said Cadet Russell Lee. “It’s awesome to see the different types of jobs, and it definitely helps the decision making process. Currently, I’d like to be a pilot.”

Although most of the cadets said they aspire to being pilots one day, one cadet wants to be able to help others through medicine.

“I’d like to go into medicine because I like what they do for people,” said Cadet Jacob Krimbill. “Even though they aren’t on the front lines, they still take care of people.”

Whether on the front lines or taking care of people, the goal of OPAF is to help cadets see the daily operations of officers and the enlisted corps.

“It’s nice to see a day in the life of a officer and how it compares to the education I received so far at the academy,” said Cadet Mathew Gamm.




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