USAF Academy cadets immerse in 45th Space Wing operations

Cadets from the United States Air Force Academy pose for a photo in front of a Delta IV engine at the Horizontal Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., June 15, 2016. The cadets visited the 45th Space Wing as a part of the Operation Air Force program, which allows future leaders to experience active duty bases and learn about the various mission capabilities and responsibilities contained within a wing. (Courtesy photo)

Cadets from the United States Air Force Academy pose for a photo in front of a Delta IV engine at the Horizontal Integration Facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., June 15, 2016. The cadets visited the 45th Space Wing as a part of the Operation Air Force program, which allows future leaders to experience active duty bases and learn about the various mission capabilities and responsibilities contained within a wing. (Courtesy photo)

Cadet Hunter Morrow, middle left, and Cadet Elisha Phillips, middle right, enjoy the view of Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. during a training mission incentive flight with the 920th Rescue Wing, June 21 2016.  The flight allowed cadets to gain a unique perspective on the Air Force’s aviation and combat rescue missions in an operational setting. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Tyler Almquist)

Cadet Hunter Morrow, middle left, and Cadet Elisha Phillips, middle right, enjoy the view of Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. during a training mission incentive flight with the 920th Rescue Wing, June 21 2016. The flight allowed cadets to gain a unique perspective on the Air Force’s aviation and combat rescue missions in an operational setting. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Tyler Almquist)

Cadet Casey Rothstein, left, and Cadet James Kniss, right, don bomb suits during their Explosive Ordnance Disposal immersion at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., June 14, 2016.  The cadets received training on the disciplines and equipment employed by EOD technicians at home and in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Tyler Almquist)

Cadet Casey Rothstein, left, and Cadet James Kniss, right, don bomb suits during their Explosive Ordnance Disposal immersion at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., June 14, 2016. The cadets received training on the disciplines and equipment employed by EOD technicians at home and in a deployed environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by 2nd Lt. Tyler Almquist)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- A group of cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy were given the opportunity to spend two weeks here as an introduction to military life. The program, named Operation Air Force, allows future leaders to visit active duty bases to learn about the various mission capabilities and responsibilities contained within a wing.

 

They were given a number of unique opportunities to visit squadrons within the 45th SW and hear from many of the wing’s knowledgeable members. Their visit also included a stop at the vertical and horizontal integration facility, followed by the viewing of two launches. 

Throughout their time, the cadets gained a valuable perspective on what being an impactful and successful leader looks like in the active duty Air Force.

 

“We have learned many valuable lessons throughout our time here at Patrick that we will take with us whenever we step into a leadership role,” said Cadet Third Class Hunter Morrow from the U.S. Air Force Academy. “Lessons such as staying humble, getting to know your people, trusting in the enlisted force, and perhaps most importantly that word travels fast in our small Air Force.”

 

The cadets concluded their stay with a scenic flight over Patrick AFB courtesy of the 920th Rescue Wing. This experience enabled them to witness the dynamic nature of the Air Force’s mission.

 

The majority of cadets receive limited exposure to the structure and function of active duty wings while in training, so opportunities such as these are immensely beneficial. One of the biggest choices made during their time at the Air Force Academy is selecting an Air Force Specialty Code, which sets the direction for the rest of their career. This program gives them the tools necessary to make an informed decision so they can vector themselves toward a career field they truly enjoy.