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Forging Future Combat Mobility Airmen

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jeremy Wentworth
  • 97 AMW Public Affairs

On April 20, 2019, members of the 97th Air Mobility Wing visited Provo, Utah and met with Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets to showcase the U.S. Air Force in action. ROTC is a college program offered at more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the United States to prepare young adults to become officers in the U.S. Military.

During this visit, cadets had the opportunity to experience the capabilities of the Mighty 97th, including flying on a C-17 Globemaster III.

“I was really excited but really nervous,” said Tyler Cassidy, an ROTC cadet who attended the event. “I grew up wanting to be a fighter pilot and that’s been my goal. After seeing the life of a cargo pilot, I think I might change my preference of aircraft.”

The mission was commanded by Lt. Col. Chris Haines, the Vice Commander of the 97th Operations Group, and flown with four other members of the 58th Airlift squadron.

The day started with a Q&A session held at TAC Air, the municipal airport in Provo. Cadets came from as far as five hours away to be a part of the event.

“Everyone was pretty jealous that we were able to go on this flight,” said Cassidy. “Most of them thought I would just be touring the plane, but I got some awesome pictures from the flight when we got to takeoff and fly around Utah.”

Shortly after the Q&A, the cadets loaded onto the C-17 and took off. During takeoff, cadets rotated into the cockpit to see how crewmembers operated together to accomplish the flight.

After the first flight landed, the crew started another Q&A segment with a new set of students. This time, Haines was asked about the future of military aviation.

“The future is you guys,” said Haines to the cadets. “We were here for a lot of reasons, but the biggest one is to share the love of flying we have with you. You have the chance to join the greatest Air Force in the world and be the best pilots this world has ever seen. You’re inheriting this Air Force and I don’t think you’re going to let us down.”

While the flight showed off the capabilities of the C-17 and the Air Force, it also gave the crew a refreshing perspective.

“I never think what we do is that cool until I see these reactions,” said Staff Sgt. Nelson Jones, a loadmaster assigned to the 58th AS. “Showing cadets what we do is definitely a unique experience.”

As a wing under Air Education and Training Command, the 97 AMW is charged with training all future aircrew for the C-17, KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-46 Pegasus. This event gave Altus Airmen the opportunity to recruit potential Airmen to deliver 21st Century airpower, while demonstrating the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self and excellence in all we do.