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Every quarter the 56th Fighter Wing hosts an immersion program to provide enlisted Airmen in the ranks airman basic to technical sergeant with a glimpse into the inner workings of the four groups on base and 56th FW agencies as well.
“Members who are selected to attend the immersion program spend a day with the host group and attend lunch at Club Five Six with the command chief,” said Master Sgt. James Castillo, 56th Force Support Squadron superintendent of manpower and personnel. “The day is planned by the host group. The program rotates quarterly from group to group or to the wing agencies.”
The immersion program gives Airmen the opportunity to experience hands-on what other units do to fulfill the wing mission.
“Typically, the event only lasts a day,” Castillo said. “Instead of being briefed by each squadron on what it does in a typical day, the Airmen get to participate in live scenario events.”
The 56th Mission Support Group hosted the September immersion event. According to the participants, it was a huge success.
“Those who participate are chosen by their superintendents,” Castillo said. “They pick two Airmen from their group, for a total of 10 people attending the immersion program each time. But, because of the positive feedback we have been receiving, the number of people should increase.”
The Airmen experienced the culinary arts, holding fire hoses, looking at snakes, welding, checking out explosive ordnance robots and playing out scenarios while paint balling.
“I was satisfied by the fact we got to see the end product and the lasting effect of projects we worked on,” said Airman 1st Class Malachi Speller, 56th Medical Operations Squadron mental health technician. “By going behind the scenes, we observed some of the customs and courtesies as well as the actual work they do daily. I would love to attend another immersion program in the future. The opportunity to attend was an honor.”
What was once for only a select few is now open to everyone.
“In the past, only award winners were invited to participate in the immersions,” Castillo said. “But we are now opening it up to others because it is a lot of fun and people learn so much.”
The immersion program lets groups reward outstanding performers and, in turn, the participants learn more about what is going on in other units.
“Basically, it lets our stand-out performers see a bigger part of the picture,” Castillo said. “They have the potential to grow in the Air Force and get a greater breadth of experience. They will carry that experience with them and spread the word on how others fit into the mission.”