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Seawolf ROTC cadets visit JBER squadrons
Airman 1st Class Dillon Lebahn, member of the 3rd Operations Support Squadron, shows Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from the University of Anchorage Alaska how to don a one-handed emergency breathing mask at the Air Crew Flight equipment facility Nov. 8. UAA ROTC cadets visit JBER to get an idea of what it’s like to be in the military. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Omari Bernard)
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Seawolf ROTC cadets visit JBER squadrons

Posted 11/18/2013   Updated 11/18/2013 Email story   Print story


by Air Force Staff Sgt. William Banton
JBER Public Affairs

11/18/2013 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- For most college students, a room containing bar stools, emblems featuring the image of an English bulldog and an actual bulldog would mean little more than a good time on a Friday night.

For the men and women standing in the 3rd Wing's 525th Fighter Squadron's heritage room, it had a different meaning.

For the prospective Air Force officers of the University of Alaska Anchorage Air Force Reserve Officers' Training Corps Detachment 001, this room represents the beginning of a day full of real insight into what it will be like to serve the United States military.

The 3rd Wing opened its doors Nov. 8, providing UAA Air Force ROTC with direct access to the officers and Airmen who ensure it stays combat ready for rapid worldwide deployment.
"I think it's great for their morale to see the operators in action, but also being more aware of the commitment they are about to take and understanding a little more about the mission," said Air Force Maj. Jill McGraw, UAA Air Force ROTC associate professor of aerospace studies. "We are lucky to be in close proximity to a base, and I believe we are creating more prepared officers for the Air Force."

In the past, the UAA Air Force ROTC was only able to visit one or two squadrons at a time, McGraw said.

This is the first year the program is able gain a full operational focus and understanding.

"I think it opens their eyes to the military community, as far as what it contributes to this nation, and how they can participate and become good citizens of the world," McGraw, said.
Chelsea Owens, UAA Air Force ROTC cadet, echoed McGraw's sentiment.

"I'm not even on active duty yet but I feel like the people we've experienced are so amazing in the lives that they've touched," Owens said. "I think it's good that we are training to be in this position."

Owens said the opportunities provided by the ROTC's four-year program, like the tour of the 3rd Wing, help form cadets into more rounded leaders.

"We are very fortunate to be so close to an installation to be able to take advantage of these opportunities," said Tech. Sgt. Maryjane Harris, noncommissioned officer in charge of personnel actions for UAA Air Force ROTC. "Some of our fellow detachments are three or four hours away from the nearest base, so it's very difficult for them to get hands-on."
The cadets stood at attention as Air Force Col. David Nahom, 3rd Wing commander, entered the heritage room to welcome them to JBER.

Their day would include F-22 Raptor maintainers, 3rd Operation Support Squadron Airmen, the Air Traffic Control Tower, weapons briefings and F-22 and C-17 Globemaster III static displays, but first Nahom provided the cadets with a few words of wisdom.

"First of all, you are always welcome out here," Nahom said. "I encourage you to not just look at the jets and things like the flying. That was a mistake I made; I was a ROTC guy too, out of the University of Colorado, and when I got into the Air Force I knew nothing but about the flying mission. If I didn't fly, I don't know what I would have done."

Nahom concluded by pointing out the multitude of career opportunities in the Air Force - though the focus on this tour was the flying mission, he asked the cadets to  let him know if there is anything they didn't see he could help provide more information.

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