Aviation and occupational medicine students from the University of Otago, New Zealand, traveled more than 6,750 miles to Phoenix to get a glimpse of what happens here at Luke Air Force Base.
Even though Luke was just one stop during their visit to the United States, the experience was clearly invaluable to the medical students, said Lt. Col. Daniel Smith, 56th Aerospace Medical Squadron chief of aerospace medicine.
“The students were fascinated by our mission here at Luke,” Smith said. “They were amazed at the training and monitoring that we follow for aviators in high-performance aircraft.”
The group started the day at headquarters building where they received a mission briefing from Col. Robert Webb, 56th Fighter Wing vice commander.
Afterward, the students visited a variety of units throughout Luke, including life support, egress, the 308th and the 310th Fighter Squadrons, flight medicine, public health, bioenvironmental engineering and aerospace physiology.
Touring an air force base in the United States may have been a once in a lifetime experience for some of the students.
“They mentioned that New Zealand doesn’t have any fighters in their air force at the current time,” Smith said.
Smith also said hosting events with multiple countries not only benefits those nations, but can benefit the Air Force as well by fostering positive relationships with other countries.
“These aviation medical specialists will go on to high level positions in their different nation’s companies,” Smith said. “You never know what future positive relationships can be forged with such international events like this.”
These students were also able to share some of their knowledge with the Airmen they met, said Airman 1st Class Kelli Lemons, 56th Aerospace Medical Squadron public health technician.
“I learned so much from this experience,” Lemons said. “I felt like I was making new friends and learned so much about what they do.”
The tour group included medical students from Canada, Australia, Fjij, Israel, Finland, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.
The students finished the tour with farewell comments from Luke Airmen who relished the opportunity to converse with students from foreign nations.