Canadian students learn more about Southwestern Oklahoma culture

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kayla Christenson
  • 97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Four Royal Canadian Air Force students from the 97th Training Squadron visited the Museum of the Western Prairie in Altus, Oklahoma, May 19, 2023, as part of an immersion into Southwestern Oklahoma culture and Altus Air Force Base history.

The immersion included a tour of the museum and social hour with base and community leaders. More than 50 international military students graduate here annually.

“Hosting international students from our allied countries is an honor,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Benjamin Davidson, 97th TRS commander. “Having the same airframes, aligned training and similar values with our allies is what strengthens partnerships and enables trust in our foreign friends, who we fight alongside.”

Canadian air force Cpl. Samantha Lacombe, 39th Service Battalion traffic technician, is one of the four Canadian students who are in training here and she was part of the tour group.

“I found it very interesting how generations of people grow up here,” she said. “To see how many people have stayed and put roots in the ground makes the local culture even more passionate.”

John Carter, 97th TRS international military student officer, explained that educating international students about Southwestern Oklahoma culture was a goal of the visit and that touring outside of the base gives opportunities to community members to engage with the international students.

“The Altus community plays an important role in the training mission here,” Carter said. “Community members deserve an opportunity to meet the international students and gain insight into exactly what we do. We want the international students to learn as much as they can about American culture and what better place than small town America, where heritage is the foundation of the community.”