Future Airmen get peek at Air Force culture in WPAFB tour

  • Published
  • By Matthew Fink
  • 88th Air Base Wing Public Affairs

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio – The 88th Air Base Wing hosted 36 future Airmen from the 338th Recruiting Squadron for a daylong tour Jan. 11.

Part of the Delayed Entry Program, where they prepare physically and mentally for military life while waiting for a basic training date, the recruits were given a chance to see Airmen from a wide array of occupational specialties and ask them questions about the Air Force.

“The participants are either signed up to join the Air Force or in the process of applying, and we are here today to get them excited about that choice,” said 2nd Lt. John Townson, a gold bar recruiter with 338 RCS. “A lot of them don’t have a good grasp of what the military does on a day-to-day basis, and having a hands-on opportunity to see the aircraft, the weapons and even the gate guards as we drive on base really grounds them in reality and shows them the Air Force isn’t a movie.”

Chief Master Sgt. Lloyd Morales, 88 ABW command chief, said these tours help showcase the Air Force mission and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s vital role in it.

“It was very important for the installation to show our new recruits exactly what they’re going to be seeing as they get to their first duty stations,” he said. “This gives them a look at the culture, mission and operations they’re going to help support. It also allows us to sit down and have great dialogue about what an installation as diverse as ours brings to the bigger national strategy of defense.

“You’re giving not just the recruits, but also community partners, the ‘why’ and showing people this is a team effort. It’s a team sport. It’s all about building relationships and partnerships.”

The tour began with a visit to Wright-Patt’s Honor Guard, where recruits were briefed on the unit’s expansive mission and given a typical military funeral demonstration. The recruits watched as a contingent of Airmen performed crisp, disciplined movements drilled into them through hours of dedicated practice.

“Honor Guard was my favorite part of the tour,” said Aleister Busico, 24, a recruit from Cincinnati shipping out to basic training in February. “It was a great way of seeing how you become part of a family when you join. Having the opportunity to honor veterans and remember them for what they did for our country is something I would like to do one day if the opportunity presented itself.”

Next, the recruits toured the 88th Security Forces Squadron kennels and watched a military working dog and his handler run an outdoor obstacle course.

After that, they attended a panel hosted by WPAFB’s Airman Leadership School, where they asked questions about basic training and life as a junior enlisted service member.

“I liked the ALS panel most because they were super welcoming and passionate,” said Mare Israel, 18, a recruit from Columbus. “Being from Ohio, Wright-Patt is talked about a lot, but it was cool to see the base instead of just hearing about it. I am currently on a four-year contract, but after this, I would definitely consider extending for more.”

After lunch at Pitsenbarger Dining Facility, the recruits stopped by 88 SFS headquarters. There, they were shown the confinement facility, interrogation rooms, an armed-suspect demonstration, and perhaps most enjoyably, the vast array of weaponry employed by the base’s Defenders.

“This is great because when I came through, I didn’t get to experience something like this,” said Tech. Sgt. Jacob Reyes, an enlisted accessions recruiter based out of Florence, Kentucky, who brought three of his recruits on the tour. “A lot of them need to see it to believe it, and they are like sponges. I have seen so many eyes light up today. They love it.”

For the last leg of the tour, recruits visited the 788th Civil Engineer Squadron’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight, where they got to look at the unit’s cumbersome bomb suits and drive an EOD robot.

From there, they made one final stop to talk with Morales, who took the opportunity to ask the recruits questions about themselves and why they’re joining the Air Force, as well as share his own journey to enlistment. He ended by thanking the recruits for coming to Wright-Patt and wishing them luck in their future careers.

“I greatly enjoyed spending time with them,” Morales said. “It’s important to show them what we do. At the end of the day, we’re all going to wear the same uniform and do some great things together. We’re going to take care of not just the nation’s interests but each other. That’s pretty awesome.”

Gavin Burriss, 18, a recruit from Indianapolis, said the base tour was a great experience.

“I have waited over a year of my life to join the Air Force,” he added, “and I am so excited to ship out.”

Headquartered at Wright-Patt, 338 RCS consists of about 100 active-duty and civilian personnel working out of 35 recruiting offices. Its mission is to recruit future Airmen in an area covering over 69,000 square miles across Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Illinois.

For more information about the 338th Recruiting Squadron, visit www.recruiting.af.mil/About-Us/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/714513/338th-recruiting-squadron.