Moody Airmen support youth aviation event

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Thomas Johns

Members from the 75th Fighter Squadrons and 71st Rescue Squadrons spoke with youth about aviation experiences, careers and their reasons for joining the U.S. Air Force during an annual Youth Flight Experience event at Fitzgerald, Georgia, March 4, 2023.

Airmen from Moody AFB coordinated participation in the event through the Aviation Inspiration Mentorship Wing. The AIM Wing is an outreach program that supports community engagements, like this event, with a mission to inform and inspire the next generation of Airmen and aviators.

U.S. Air Force Capt. Rose Porras, 71st Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II pilot, and Capt. Nicholas Porras, 75th Fighter Squadron A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot, explained:

“We’re trying to show students and kids of all ages that they can be anything they want to be,” said Rose Porras. “You can be an engineer, or be in maintenance to support air power and aviation. It’s not just about pilots, it’s about all aspects of aviation.”

Although Airmen from Moody have participated in the event for two years, Art Anderson, Youth Flight Experience coordinator, has sponsored the event for much longer.

“This started back in about the 70’s when I was about twelve years old and a couple of fellas took me flying,” said Anderson. “That was a great experience and I wanted to pay that forward. In 2016, I started this program with 5 kids and one airplane. Now today we have about 60 kids, 5 airplanes, and tons of volunteers. Hopefully we can inspire and educate some of these young people to be pilots or mechanics.”

While this event gives students and children a chance to learn about aviation and those who support it, it’s the memories they make that volunteers and coordinators hope will stay with the children forever.

“I remember my first time flying in a small Aircraft, and how fun and different it was, seeing a world from a different view,” said Nicholas Porras. “My favorite part of today was seeing the big smiles on the kids' faces and knowing they get to experience the same thing.”

Next year’s Youth Flight Experience event will be on March 2, 2024.