SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. --
Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, hosted 10 U.S. Air Force Academy cadets participating in Operation Air Force, June 6-21, 2017. They shadowed Airmen in different career fields, including security forces, maintenance, operations and force support.
Operation Air Force is a 2 1/2-week program held in the summer for USAFA cadets and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets.
During the visit, the cadets experienced hands-on training and daily responsibilities of a 4th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighters. As they toured the department, the cadets put on the fire suit and attempted to complete tasks such as: rolling up a fire hose, carrying a 150-pound test dummy, and holding the “jaws of life” tool.
Zachary Krieger, USAFA cadet, was one of 10 cadets visited the base.
“This was a great opportunity for us,” said Krieger. “Being able to talk with not only officers, but also the enlisted force helps us become more familiar with their day-to-day routine.”
Krieger added the visit to Seymour Johnson AFB provided the cadets with a fun, inspiring, and educational break from the Academy.
The officers-in-training said they were really excited to experience the F-15E Strike Eagle and the KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft. They were given a tour of both aircraft inside and out.
The cadets also experienced Exercise Razor Talon, which included viewing a 916th Air Refueling Wing boom operator in flight.
During the KC-135R flight, the cadets watched as the boom operator completed the process of refueling an E-3 Sentry AWACS.
Many of the cadets expressed their aspiration to become pilots after they graduate from the Academy. This experience provides the cadets with knowledge to determine what career field they could see themselves performing. Some cadets even expressed they already decided to become a Strike Eagle pilot one day.
The 4th Operations Group provided the cadets with the ultimate pilot experience by coordinating each cadet an incentive flight in the F-15E Strike Eagle.
“Before we went up in the Strike Eagle, we went through a pilot briefing and went over safety procedures,” said Jacob R. Volin, USAFA cadet. “Being able to see the pilots in action makes us that much more excited to graduate and become operational.”
Throughout the last week of the visit, the cadets finished shadowing the different agencies on base, and were able to talk to Chief Master Sergeants, as well as first sergeants to end the week.
“Coming here I was really excited to see what the operational [Air Force] was like,” said Krieger. “This helps keep us motivated to finish school at the Academy and graduate. This visit reassures us that we are going to be a part of something bigger than where we are now.”