DVIDS – News – Interior Alaska JROTC Visits 168 Wing

Descending into the boom operator’s console, peering over security force weapons and handling civil engineering equipment is a bit what Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps students from all over the interior from Alaska participated during their visit to the 168th Wing.

Students got to see the mission capabilities of 168 Wing first hand. Pole vaulters, pilots, maintainers, security force defenders, and civil engineering airmen participated in career sharing and mission presentations for students to better understand the Air National Guard’s mission from Alaska.

“I thought it was cool to see what people are doing here,” said Kobe Axtell of North Pole High School JROTC. “You can see the possibilities. I thought that was cool because half of the stuff they showed me, I didn’t know anything about. I learned a lot of new things today.

The day began with a series of pilot Q&As, then the students received close-up demonstrations of the Airmen’s skills. The questions and answers continued as each group took turns speaking with 168 Wing Airmen aboard the KC-135, in the workshops and at a lunch-bar-b-que.

Lt. Cory Schaeffers of the 168th Operations Group was interviewed about his military experiences. He said, “I started my career as a maintenance man in the Marine Corps.” He shared his pilot maintenance and training experiences, survival training courses, and part of his Marine Corps career with the Alaska Air National Guard today as a KC-135 pilot .

Staff Sgt. Kyle Betts of the 168th Maintenance Group shared his experience with the agile combat employment concept and how he expanded his mission by having the opportunity to learn electricity on the aircraft. He also explained AMP licensing, FAA requirements, and crew chief to piloting experiences. Maintenance technicians explained the working parts of the aircraft and engines.

“I enjoyed hearing about the KC-135 aero engine and seeing a presentation of it,” said Ezekiel “Barefoot” Barnes of Lathrop High School JROTC. “It’s nice to hear about the unit.” Barefoot was Barnes’ nickname during camp for running barefoot during a competitive race. He plans to join the army paratroopers and follow in his grandfather’s footsteps.

Staff Sgt. Tyler Winterton posed questions to the students: “How many knows that the Wing provides air-to-air refueling, cargo and passenger transport, and medical evacuations?”

Winterton and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Legan, 168th Boom Operators, gave an overview of the Boom Operators’ flying experiences giving a little insight into a day in the life of the crew.

Members of the Security Forces showed their weapons and discussed security as well as the mission of securing assets. Students were able to participate in screen time simulations and try their hand at stun gun training and the importance of deterrence at the lowest possible level.

Casey Mcgoffin of Eielson High School JROTC shared that he loved seeing the guns. “I enjoyed seeing the weapons on display and learning more about the mission of the security forces,” Casey Mcgoffin said.

Students visit the wing as part of their summer camp experience. JROTC Summer Camp includes West Valley High School Marine Corps JROTC, Lathrop High School Army JROTC, Eielson Air Force Base High School Air Force JROTC, and North Pole High School Air Force JROTC.

“I never would have joined or stayed here if I hadn’t attended summer camp,” said North Pole JROTC cadet Luna Forlino, who is in her senior year. “I was a new ninth grader, and it was mentally and physically exhausting for me, and all the while I thought I’d never do that again – then in the end, it made me realize that I was stronger than I thought I could and with other people pushing me I could get better and now I love JROTC.

Date taken: 27.06.2022
Date posted: 27.06.2022 23:07
Story ID: 423895

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