by Airman 1st Class Megan Friedl
375th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
6/16/2015 - SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- United
States Air Force Academy and Reserve Officers Training Corps cadets got
a taste of what it's going to be like in the operational Air Force, one
to two years before they graduate and actually begin serving as second
lieutenants from June 2 to 17 at Scott Air Force Base.
The Air Force Operations Program is dedicated for cadets to get exposure
to a real-world Air Force base environment while letting them see how
base components work together to achieve the mission. First Lt. Jonathan
Davis, 375th Force Support Squadron Readiness Officer in Charge, and
Maj. Jonathan Lauer, 54th Airlift Squadron C-40 Pilot, are both base
directors who organized the operations experience for the cadets.
"This program is cited by a majority of attending cadets as contributing
greatly to their decisions about which career field to pursue," said
The cadets visited the 375th Security Forces Squadron and some even
experienced what it would feel like to be tazed and bitten by the
military working dogs in protective suits. They also visited the Tanker
Airlift Control Center, the 375th Contracting Squadron, the 375th
Operations Group, the 375th Medical Group, the 375th Logistics Readiness
Squadron, the 375th Force Support Squadron, the 375th Communications
Group, attended changes of command, received mentoring from leaders, and
were paired up with base company grade officers.
Part of the Air Force Operations Program was to take a ride on aircraft
from Scott. The Academy cadets experienced flying on a C-40 around the
St. Louis area. The ROTC cadets flew in a KC-135 and witnessed a
refueling of an F-22 near Florida.
"It was really cool to fly on a C-40," said Cadet 2nd Class Kirsten
Mattson, a rising junior Academy student. "It's interesting to see the
perspectives from people that have been on this aircraft frequently."
The purpose of the program is to enhance understanding of how operations
and support functions work together to accomplish a wing's mission.
They are exposed to a variety of career fields to aid them in future
career decisions. It enables the cadets to interact with senior
noncommissioned officers, Department of Defense civilians, Field Grade
Officers and CGOs, and better understand their role as a future second
Maj. Jonathan Lauer said, "I think the cadets gain a better and clearer
picture of what the Air Force is going to be after going through this
Davis recalls when he was a cadet, and said, "As an USAFA cadet I
thought the experience was eye opening. The Air Force is completely
different than schooling. The responsibility of the unit falls on my
shoulders in the AF and accomplishing the unit functions make the Air
Force succeed every day. The operations program made me realize how
important the Air Force is to the world. After visiting my operational
Air Force base, I wanted nothing more than to join this great service."