Salutes & Awards

June 21, 2013

Academy cadets get taste of real AF life

Tags:
Staff Sgt. LUTHER MITCHELL Jr.

Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Joshua Burdge, left, installs a 20mm gun drum on an F-16 June 14 on the flightline. The cadets spent the day shadowing armament systems specialists from the 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit. The cadets also visited the medical group, public affairs, finance and security forces. The cadets were participating in Operation Air Force, a program designed to give cadets operational Air Force experience before graduation.

Nine U.S. Air Force Academy cadets recently participated in Operation Air Force here at Luke Air Force Base. The program is designed to give cadets real-world operational Air Force experience prior to graduation.

Second Lt. Sarah Dugan, 308th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer-in-charge, oversaw the cadets while they were here. Dugan, who previously participated in the program, explained that the program is designed to expose cadets to different career fields.

“It basically shows them what active-duty life is like, what it’s like to be an officer and how the enlisted corps works,” she said. “They come to understand how life works on a real operational base and what to expect once they graduate.”

The cadets spent a day with finance, maintenance, medical, force support, logistics and public affairs.

“What we are mostly focused on is that they spend a full day with a specific career field,” Dugan said. “They walk through from start to finish. They will be directly shadowing a career field. They will physically train with the units and will be going to meetings with them.”

Cadets can make important contacts with active-duty officers and get more in-depth, behind-the-scenes information on specific career fields through the program.

“This is a time where they are sniffing out what they want to do,” Dugan said. “I know a lot of officers who have gone into things like pilot training and other rigorous career fields and fallen out of those training programs. They then had to depend on their Operation Air Force experience to figure out what career field to go to next. It’s a good resource for them. If they don’t get their first career choice, they know what else they are interested in.”

Cadet 2nd Class Joshua Burdge discovered that he enjoyed the maintenance career field after visiting various units.

“Aside from pilot, the career field I like so far is maintenance,” Burdge said. “From an officer’s standpoint I like the fact that you’re actually leading people. In contracting, you have like two people you’re in charge of and pilots are in charge of themselves and the aircraft. I think that is very awesome.”

Cadet 2nd Class Kathleen McQueeney also found the maintenance career field to be of interest, though initially she gave it no thought.

“I think intelligence or maintenance is what I am leaning toward right now,” McQueeney said. “I didn’t think maintenance would interest me at all, until I came here and actually saw what they do.”

Dugan said she believes the experience provided the cadets a better understanding of what to expect after graduation, and she feels the cadets are ready to become great officers.

“They now have a clear picture of what they can expect from different career fields, the roles and responsibilities of different ranks, and how everyone pulls together to make the mission happen here at Luke,” Dugan said. “I am proud of them in this respect, and I have no doubt they will go on to become great officers in two years when they graduate from the Academy in whatever career field they are assigned.”

The nine cadets are juniors and will graduate in 2015. A second group of cadets is scheduled to visit Luke in July. The program is a 2004 directive from the Secretary of the Air Force and Chief of Staff of the Air Force.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
NEW_1

Luke F-35s visit Columbus AFB

Airman 1st Class Daniel Lile A T-6 Texan II roars overhead as the pilots of two Luke Air Force Base F-35 Lightning IIs prepare to exit their aircraft July 23 at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. The pilots are Capt. Nichola...
 
 

Gillespie Loop: Honors Airman who made ultimate sacrifice

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan — The men and women of the 455th Air Expeditionary Wing came together for a road dedication ceremony to honor Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie, a fallen Airman who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Master Sgt. Randy Gillespie was a career fuels specialist who died July 9, 2007, from wounds sustained during small...
 
 

Who’s afraid of a little blood?

I have been in the Air Force for 22 years and have been a medical laboratory technician since the beginning of my career. The medical or clinical laboratory is where specimens are tested to provide information to medical providers who directly assist in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in patients. After graduating basic...
 

 

Pursue education for career’s sake

Everyone knows education can be a good bullet on an enlisted performance report, but few know the true value of an education in regard to a military career. The pursuit of an education can be just as valuable as the degree acquired at the end. The knowledge acquired in the pursuit of an education can...
 
 
Pg-3--photo-illustration

Candid money talk improves relationship

There are many reasons why people divorce but at the top of the list are lack of communication and finances. That’s why it’s important to combine these two topics to make for a successful long-lasting relationship. “I bel...
 
 

News Briefs July 31, 2015

Total body conditioning class A new total body conditioning class is 6:30 and 9 a.m. Monday and Wednesday. The 6:30 a.m. class is broken into two half hour segments to accommodate squadron or individual physical training. The 9 a.m. class is one hour. The class consists of body weight movements and the use of equipment...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>