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ROTC Cadets Gain First-Hand Experience During Ops Air Force
by U.S. Force Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt
October 13, 2018

More than 20 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets gained a first-hand experience of the Air Force mission during Operation Air Force 2018 at Moody Air Force Base.

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Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets sit in the bay of a cargo plane during Operation Air Force 2018, July 26, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, GA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt)
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Three groups of cadets from across the nation participated in the annual summer program which gave them an opportunity to see the operational Air Force’s mission and lifestyle before choosing a career as an officer.

“This program allows (cadets) to see their Air Force specialty code (AFSC) interests and helps them formulate an idea of what their (potential) active-duty lifestyle may be like,” said Capt. Brett Gudim, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge. “The cadets had an opportunity to shadow officers and enlisted Airmen in the (rescue, flying and base defense) squadrons so they could really see what happens on a day-to-day basis and if that’s something they want to do for the rest of their career.”

Glimpsing into their potential futures, the cadets were immersed into the heart of Moody’s operations. During their tour, they flew aboard Moody’s aircraft along with flying in an A-10C Thunderbolt II simulator.

For Cadet Logan Lafferty, West Virginia University Detachment 915, seeing the flying assets heightened his life-long aspiration of being an A-10 pilot.

“Ever since I was four years old, I’ve wanted to become a pilot, and I’ve never swayed from that dream,” Lafferty said. “I was really stoked (to come) to Moody. To become a pilot you have to be an officer, so that’s my whole basis of making my dream a reality. This program helps further that.”

Lafferty relished the opportunity to see different mission perspectives, and gain insight on leading people, from chiefs and officers alike. One chief who mentored the cadets was Chief Master Sgt. Brandon Dunston, 23d Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent.

“You all have to be dedicated, lifelong learners,” Dunston said. “If you think you stop learning when you’re (at the top), you’re wrong. Anything you can pick up and learn to make you better, and in turn can impart that on your Airmen, is a win. You never arrive; you’re always trying to move forward.”

Having the chance to be in discussion panels and see operations with senior and enlisted leaders propelled the cadets to embrace forward thinking.

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Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets watch an HC-130J Combat King II taxi the flightline during Operation Air Force 2018, July 26, 2018, at Moody Air Force Base, GA. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Erick Requadt)
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“You’re supposed to be leading (Airmen), so it’s great to be able to watch and talk with leadership to get a better feel of their position and role,” Lafferty said. “Getting to do this has been a really good opportunity.”

As the cadets left Moody to return back to their colleges to continue their journey, Gudim hoped the cadets gained the necessary insights, with a fresh direction to follow the path that will guide them as the future leaders of the Air Force.

“We wanted them to have a good time and to show off Moody, because this is such a unique mission we have here with different flying, rescue and defense squadrons,” Gudim said. “But, we also wanted to showcase the different career fields that there are, and I hope the cadets left with a better sense of understanding of what they potentially want to do in the Air Force.”

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