OPS Air Force; Moody hosts ROTC, USAFA cadets

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Whitney Gillespie

More than 80 U.S. Air Force Academy and Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from across the nation visited Moody Air Force Base, Ga. from June 21 to Aug. 5.

Known as Operation Air Force, the summer immersion program is designed to give visiting cadets a first-hand experience of the Air Force mission and lifestyle before they choose a career as an officer.

“The benefit of this program is these young cadets gain exposure to active-duty operations and lifestyle,” said Master Sgt. Jessica Fairall, 23rd Communications Squadron client services management section chief. “We want them to have a good time and introduce them to Moody’s mission, structure and culture.”

Glimpsing into their futures, cadets were immersed into Moody’s everyday operations. During their x-long week tour, they were able to explore different career fields across the base, while also getting an up-close look at the three aircraft Moody hosts.

“Our intention is for the cadets to explore, job shadow and just immerse themselves with the operational Air Force,” said Capt. Jimmy Davis, OPSAF project officer “From intel, to flying units, maintenance to medical, air traffic control to the Base Defense Group, these cadets have had a vast array of career options that will best suit them.”

For Cadet Preston Sullivan, University of South Florida Detachment 158, seeing daily operations and getting an up-close look into the Intelligence Squadron was the most valuable experience for him.

“Getting to see what I want to do happen in real time was amazing,” Sullivan said. “And getting to come to Moody which isn't far from home and seeing it was even better.”

Having the opportunity to be in discussion panels and see operations with senior and enlisted leaders propelled the cadets to embrace forward-thinking.

“The cadets have talked with most of the colonels on base and they have had opportunities to talk with senior NCOs throughout the wing,” Davis said. “The O-6s and the senior NCOs have helped the cadets gain knowledge and leadership advice, and how to pursue leadership roles when it's their turn in the seat.”

While cadets typically interact with officers, the opportunity and experience of interacting and conversing with senior enlisted leaders provided a fresh outlook on leadership styles, Sullivan explained.

The cadets returned to their colleges with advice and influence that will hopefully serve them well as future Air Force leaders.

The cadets weren’t the only people impacted by this summer’s immersion, – as the project officer Davis not only had a professional connection but a personal one as well, having participated as a cadet himself in 2018. He hopes this year's participants gain the same knowledge and appreciation he did from the program.

“When I went through the program I was amazed by how much I learned from the senior NCOs and how much they cared to help the new future lieutenants become leaders,” he said. “OPSAF helped me to confidently decide what I wanted to do in the Air Force. This opportunity significantly broadened my awareness of the different career fields and how they complimented each other to get the Air Force mission done.”