The cadets were hosted by Wright-Patt’s Company Grade Officer Council with the goal of providing them a glimpse into the daily operations of various Air Force missions and functions, said 1st Lt. Joseph Suwabe, 88th Comptroller Squadron Financial Analysis, deputy flight commander, and CGOC project officer for the visit.
“We tried to expose them to the diverse missions unique to this base, and to the career fields that may not get as much as exposure as others. We also wanted to motivate them to look forward to joining the operational side of the Air Force,” said Suwabe.
Whether they're about to graduate, and are curious about how various bases operate, or they’re still between their freshmen and junior years, we wanted this experience to help answer some question that may be in their minds like: What career field they want to pursue? What base they want to be stationed at? What academic major to select? And, other major decisions and uncertainties that cadets encounter, explained Suwabe.
USAFA and ROTC cadets generally get one opportunity, called Operations Air Force ("Ops AF"), to be immersed in daily operations at an Air Force Base during their four years of training, he said.
Coming to Wright-Patt offered the cadets an opportunity for an inside look at operations at the Air Force Research Laboratory, the 88th Air Base Wing’s Security Forces military working dogs section, and at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.
“While here the cadets were able to spend time in an AFRL F-16 simulator, participate in a military working dog demonstration, and they were given a behind the scenes tour of the National Museum of the United States Air Force,” said Suwabe.
“He’s fast!” said USAFA cadet Staff Sgt. Sean Konomos, when asked how it was to get taken down by a military working dog.
“I definitely have a better understanding of the variety of skill sets that our security forces professionals bring to the table,” said ROTC cadet, and graduating senior, Madison Estuesta, after her time in the bite suit.
“It was very nerve wracking waiting for him to catch me, knowing that he was bearing down on me. It was intense,” she added.
We wanted to give the cadets a unique look at the different aspects of the security forces career field, and hope that they walked away from this experience with a better perspective of what we bring to the fight, explained Security Forces specialist and military working dog handler Staff Sgt. Heather Albright.
“They were a very enthusiastic group. I’ve never seen so many hands go up when asked who wanted to don the bite suit and get tackled by one of our military working dogs,” she added.