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Tour of the fortress
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam – Students and chaperons from the Guam Community College listen as Airman 1st Class Elliot Williams, 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, explains his job as a dedicated B-52 Stratofortress crew chief on the flightline here, Oct. 19. The students and chaperons visited the base for a career advancement tour. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos/Released)
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Andersen hosts career advancement tour for GCC students

Posted 10/29/2012   Updated 10/29/2012 Email story   Print story


by Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
36th Wing Public Affairs

10/29/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam  -- Students from the Guam Community College visited the base during a career advancement tour here, Oct. 19.

During the tour, the students had the opportunity to meet servicemembers, see static displays and watch demonstrations from various units on base.

"We have a cultural or career-oriented field trip every semester," said James Fathal, GCC Project Aim program coordinator. "This is the first time we've gone to Andersen."

The students were part of the Student Support Services Project Aim, a 100 percent federally funded education program. The program serves eligible students enrolled in Guam Community College. Project Aim's goal is to provide the academic and personal support necessary to help students graduate and transfer to a four-year institution.

"We assist college students, especially those in low income families or those who are first in their families to attend college," said Mr. Fathal. "We want to show students that there are a lot of options and opportunities available to them."

The tour included a visit to the Andersen fire department, a 36th Security Forces Squadron military working dog demonstration, a scenic overlook of Tarague Beach and a static display of a the B-52 Stratofortress.

"It was nice to see the B-52 that close and tour Andersen for the first time," said Floregine Dela Cruz, GCC student. "My favorite was seeing the B-52 because my grandpa always mentions it. He always told me stories about it because he worked on base. He even told me back in high school that I should be a B-52 pilot."

"In high school, I wanted to join the Air Force," continued Ms. Dela Cruz. "My goal is after graduation I want to join the Air Force as an officer. I like being in this kind of environment."

Ryan Pillow, an Andersen Air Force Base Fire Department fire captain, said these tours were a nice way to show everyone what the military does and create a rapport with the community.

"It promotes good community relations and allows people off base to see what we do," said Mr. Pillow. "For these students, it exposes them to our career fields and the military. Plus, it's also fun to see the awe on their faces when we get to demonstrate the cool stuff that we do in our jobs."

Aside from the career advancement, the field trip was also a learning experience for the students, showing them the historical relevance of the military on the island.

"Being in this kind of environment shows the students that the world is bigger than just the island," said Mr. Fathal. "Some kids consider joining the military and hopefully this helped the others form ideas on what they could do or where they want to go after they finish their education."

From air shows and open houses to base tours for youth, Andersen continues to promote community relations and foster friendship between the military and the local community.

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