Operation Air Force develops future officers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Iain Stanley
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets took part in Operation Air Force at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, June 4 – 19, 2024.

The three-week event is a required program that allows cadets the opportunity to visit an operational Air Force base and learn how the Air Force functions outside of the academy before commissioning as a second lieutenant.

“Basically, all the cadets know is the world of the academy and this is a way for them to branch out,” said Capt. Griffin Landrum, 71st Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II co-pilot. “This event lets the cadets experience the relationship between officer and enlisted, because at the academy they mostly interact with officers.”

Seeing the different paths the Air Force has to offer gives cadets the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in career fields they may not know much about.

“Most cadets don’t know anything about rescue, I know I didn’t,” Landrum said. “Just being able to showcase those more obscure capabilities can really have a positive effect on their minds.”

Through their time here, the cadets spoke with wing and squadron leadership, rappelled with the 820th Base Defense Squadron, sat in the cockpit of an A-10C Thunderbolt II, and more. This unique opportunity allows the cadets to learn about the Air Force mission and gain perspective on what interests them.

“One of the main things I’ve learned about is how many parts there are to executing the mission,” said Cadet 2nd Class Mary Allen, U.S. Air Force Academy cadet, Squad 24. “It’s really eye-opening to see how many aspects to supporting the mission there are, and how much truly goes into making the mission successful.”

Operation Air Force serves as a catalyst for personal and professional growth, equipping cadets with knowledge and inspiration as they continue their journey toward serving in the United States Air Force.

“The rescue community was really motivational and inspirational to me,” Allen said. “I really hope I end up somewhere with a similar mission set to Moody.”