by John Turner
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
7/2/2015 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Cecily
Agu is looking forward to receiving her commission as a second
lieutenant when she graduates from the United States Air Force Academy
in two years. She wants to go into space operations but she can also
foresee herself becoming a missile officer.
Brandon Williams dreams of becoming an Air Force pilot. As he prepares
to enter his sophomore year at a university in California, he hopes the
Reserve Officers Training Corps will help him achieve that goal.
While each is on a different path toward becoming an Air Force officer,
both are receiving similar valuable experiences this week as they visit
work centers at Malmstrom Air Force Base and talk to commissioned and
Agu and Williams are among 20 cadets visiting the base June 23 to July
9. This is the second of three sessions here supporting Operation Air
Force (Ops AF), an Air Force-wide summer program that sends USAFA and
ROTC cadets to host bases to see the operational Air Force first-hand.
The visits serve two purposes, said 1st Lt. Deanna Kerkhoff, 341st
Mission Support Group executive officer and point of contact for the
The cadets receive professional development advice from base leadership
and hear what is expected of young officers. They also get a feel for
what different career fields in the Air Force do.
The cadets' daily schedules are packed with tours of base organizations
including the 341st Missile Wing's operations, maintenance, security
forces, support and medical groups, and the 819th RED HORSE squadron. A
visit to a missile alert facility, helicopter flights and tours of
procedures and maintenance trainers help the cadets understand the
Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile mission here.
"These cadets haven't chosen their jobs yet," Kerkhoff said. "They
haven't put in their dream sheets for what they'll want to do in the Air
Force, so this gives them more background information."
Williams still sees flying transports as his future, specifically the
C-17 Globemaster, but spending time at a missile base has broadened his
perspective. Before Ops AF, Williams didn't have much experience with
the Air Force. Now if he has to choose a non-rated career, perhaps it
will be security forces or civil engineering.
"It's a lot different than what I thought it would be," Williams said. "Everything looks kind of cool."
In addition to talking to Airmen on the job and learning what they do,
the cadets will hear important career advice from commanders and senior
Agu believes that interacting with a broad spectrum of ranks and job specialties has been the best part of the visit.
"At the Academy, we interact a lot with officers--our instructors are
officers, and in the squadron we interact with officers--but here we
also get to interact with enlisted personnel," Agu said. "I think that's
very important for our officer development."
While here, she has received mentorship that will help her when she begins her career in the operational Air Force.
"One thing that has really stuck with me is that as a new lieutenant,
you're not going to know everything the first day," Agu said. "Learn
from people around you, especially senior NCOs, as it really helps
develop you as an officer and better integrates you into the squadron."
Agu believes that Ops AF is one of the best programs the Academy has to
offer, especially as she prepares to go into her junior year and commit
to the Air Force.
"It's good to see what life after the Academy entails," she said. "I like it."