DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --
Editor’s Note: On June 5-20, 16 ROTC cadets from across the country visited Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, as part of the U.S. Air Force ROTC Operation Air Force program, which offers ROTC cadets insight into life in the operational Air Force. This grants cadets the opportunities to interact with enlisted and commissioned Airmen and briefly experience life in different Air Force career fields.
U.S. Air Force ROTC’s Operation Air Force at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, really opened our eyes to many careers and difficulties we will face when we become officers. Airmen of all ranks took time out of their busy days to brief and introduce ROTC cadets to how the Air Force functions and give their recommendations to us for the future.
We would like to say thank you to everyone who took time out of their days to brief us during our time at Dyess.
Our first day at Dyess, we met the 7th Bomb Wing Commander, Col. Brandon Parker, who was the first to brief us. His advice to us was to take a step back from our pre-established notions on what we wanted to do in the Air Force. He told us to open our minds to new possibilities and to learn where we fit in the Air Force. Looking back at our time here, his words could not have been truer.
We learned about careers in the Air Force that we did not know even existed and how they each played their own vital role in the collective effort to accomplish the mission. We also learned many other valuable lessons while in and out of our many briefings, more so from the people than from the briefs themselves. While the briefs were important, the people often had the most valuable tidbits of information. The briefs taught us how the different parts of the Air Force functioned, showed the importance of every section and abolished the idea that certain parts were unnecessary or not as important as we thought.
The personal lessons from the briefers were incredibly impactful. We learned that Airmen want to know their leaders, even if the leader may be changed out within a year. We learned that senior NCOs are more than willing to help get the officers started, because the faster the officer learns their job, the faster problems get solved.
If I had to choose one lesson from the many that we all learned in our time here, it would be that the Air Force takes care of its people. We got the opportunity to ask a plethora of senior NCOs and officers what they each did, and more often than not they simply stated they took care of their people. My fellow cadets and I will return to our detachments spread all across the country with the knowledge that it is our role as leaders to guide, mentor and bear the responsibility of our decisions, so those under us can complete the mission set forth before them.
In short, this Operation Air Force experience has been fantastic. We learned so much, and it was great meeting everybody we will soon get to work with on active duty. Frankly, the heat was not very enjoyable, but that is the worst thing I can say about the entire trip. Everyone was encouraging and helped foster a healthy environment.
To everyone at Dyess Air Force Base: Thank you. Thank you for your time and effort. It truly means so much to us!