Learning the Possibilities

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Terrica Y. Jones
  • 916th Air Refueling Wing

Six Air Force Academy cadets learned more about the Air Force during their visit to Seymour Johnson Air Force Base June 12th.

“The cadets were here as part of their Air Force Operations tour.  During the summer after their sophomore year at the Academy, they’ll do a three week base visit where they job shadow various Air Force Specialty Codes around a base and learn the day-to-day life of being in the Air Force,” said Maj. Kyle W. Vonnahmen, 911th Air Refueling Squadron, squadron executive.  

“We met the cadets that morning, gave them a tour of the squadron, and a briefing on the mission of the KC-135R Stratotanker.  We also talked to them about being a pilot, being in the Air Force, day-to-day life, deployments, temporary duty stations,” he said.  

The cadets also had an opportunity to see a static display of a KC-135R Stratotanker while talking with the 911th ARS pilots.

“We took them out to the KC-135R Stratotanker for a static display so they could see it up close, get inside and have the chance to talk to aircrew,” said Vonnahmen.  “We wanted to show them what life was like in the tanker and Air Mobility Command community.” 

“Some of the cadets definitely wanted to be pilots, and some were still undecided.  So we just wanted to make sure we gave them as much information as we could about being a pilot, both good and bad, and be able to answer any questions they might have,” he said. 

The cadets also visited the 4th Fighter Wing security forces, firefighters, explosive ordnance, along with a host of other locations during their base tour. 

Cadet Elizabeth K. Patterson, an Air Force Academy cadet, discussed how the visit has educated her about a variety of career fields that all support the same mission. 

“Before I joined the academy I did not know a lot about the Air Force. You hear a lot about pilots so being able to see different career fields is fascinating to me,” she said. “There is not a job you can take away and the mission still function.”

The cadets had an opportunity to talk with Col. Craig  McPike, 916th Air Refueling Wing commander. McPike and the cadets discussed Academy classes and programs, attending the academy with prior enlisted service members and even their favorite restaurants.

Patterson expressed her gratitude to all the service members she engaged during her base visit.

“I'm really grateful; everyone here at Seymour Johnson has been so nice to us, so accommodating and happy to have us here,” she said. “I love listening to people talk about what they love to do. Everyone has a different story to tell and it's fascinating to hear it.”