Operations Air Force cadets land at Robins

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78th ABW/PA
During the last few weeks members of Team Robins have been imparting knowledge on a group of college students who hold the future of the Air Force in their hands.

Robins is hosting 27 Air Force Senior ROTC cadets through August 1 as part of the Operations Air Force program.

The cadets, who all just completed their freshman year of college and are from schools across the nation, are here as part of the internship program's first installment, Operations NCO.

"It's basically a chance to get hands-on experience early on," said Capt. Kevin Chivington, commandant of cadets at Embry Riddle's Daytona Beach campus and the escort officer for the cadets.

The internship program allows the cadets to develop an appreciation for the enlisted force.

"We learned how to work with NCOs, how to treat them and how to work together, because that's how the mission is achieved. It shows us how to make ourselves better officers," said Cadet John Devine from Mississippi State University.

The objectives of the program include becoming acquainted with everyday tasks, activities and perceptions of Air Force officers and enlisted personnel, getting educated on the workings of operational units and familiar with the Air Force way of life. The rising sophomores spend three weeks taking tours, gaining hands-on experience and shadowing Air Force personnel in a variety of career fields.

"It has shown me that there are different things, other than a pilot, I can be, stuff that is not as publicized such as the maintenance wing. By being here, it makes you want to think about other areas you could pursue," said Cadet Devine, who is assigned to the 653rd Combat Logistics Support Squadron.

When the cadets arrived, they visited Warrior Air Base and got a chance to experience the affects of leftover gas residue used in training exercises.

"With the K-9 units, we got to get the gear on and have the dogs come out and attack us," said Cadet Lauren Benhamou from Wilkes University.

For some, life at Robins was an experience like no other. Cadet Aaron Clovsky from Illinois Institute of Technology, said, "It's really cool. This is absolutely my first time on a military base."

Along with showing the cadets the vast opportunities available to Airmen, the program helped the cadets learn to respect the roles of the enlisted and officers in the Air Force mission.

"I think getting to see the NCOs doing their job teaches us that we don't work without the NCOs corps," Cadet Clovsky said.

Cadet Jeff Movsesian from Michigan State University said one of the most unexpected things about working with the 19th Air Refueling Group on the flightline was the unimportance of rank when it came to accomplishing the mission.

Cadets Benhamou and Clovsky agreed. They said being assigned to the 5th Combat Communications Group helped them understand how important every job within the Air Force is.

"In the back of your head you know it goes on, but to see it up front and actually be a part of it and be out there digging in straight clay it makes it real," said Cadet Benhamou, while learning to build a bare base with the members of the 5th CCG as part of the group's mobility school training.

Master Sergeant Jeff Stroup, the 402nd Electronics Maintenance Group POC for the cadets, said he just hopes the experience of interacting with the enlisted Airmen will stay with them when they return to be part of the mission as officers.

"I just hope they all learn to respect the enlisted when they get in and to understand what we do," said Senior Airman Lisa Lantz, a member of the 5th CCG who was shadowed during the program.