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Air Force Academy cadets visit Andersen, experience operational Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman Carissa Wolff
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Eight Air Force Academy cadets arrived here June 1 for a two-week temporary duty to experience how an operational Air Force base works. 

Operation Air Force is a summer program which provides Air Force Academy cadets and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets exposure to a real-world Air Force base environment.

"This program is focused on enhancing cadets' appreciation of the roles and interactions of operations and support units," said 1st Lt. Vincent Santangelo, 36th Munitions Squadron materiel flight commander and Air Force Academy graduate. "Operation Air Force also provided experiences designed to engage and challenge cadets to develop the skills, knowledge and responsibilities for a seamless transition from military academy life to an officer of character, motivated to lead the Air Force in service to our nation."

The cadets toured most of the base, visiting the Magellan Inn, Skyline Flight Kitchen, aerospace ground equipment shop, U.S. Department of Agriculture, base operations, the 734th Air Mobility, 644th Combat Communications, 554th RED HORSE, 506th Expeditionary Air Refueling, 36th Security Forces, 36th Munitions, 36th Civil Engineer and 36th Mobility Readiness Squadrons as well as the 36th Medical and 36th Contingency Response Groups.

The cadets toured the base to learn how different facilities and squadrons work both independently from one another and together to support Team Andersen's mission.

"This opportunity was extremely important because it is helping us prepare for what we may be doing in the operational Air Force after we graduate," said Cadet 1st Class Michael Harencak, a fourth-year Air Force Academy cadet. "Most important, is the information I learned about all the areas I won't be working or involved with on a day-to-day basis. Knowing how areas other than my area of expertise work and operate will help me to be a better Airman in the future."

To some cadets the two-week TDY went by too quickly.

"I really try to soak in as much information as I can every day, because I know I won't get this opportunity again," Cadet Harencak said.

While their TDY was primarily focused on Andersen's operational mission, the cadets also experienced housing available on base and other activities Andersen offers.

"The cadets were housed in Fleming Heights, received incentive flights and scuba diving lessons if they wanted them," Lieutenant Santangelo said.