Academy rolls out annual Operation Air Force program

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. --

Scores of cadets are traveling this summer to 61 military bases across the globe as part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force program.  

Capt. Christopher Thomas, program scheduler, said the program exposes cadets to different Air Force specialties and how officers and NCOs collaborate.   

“The program gives cadets a better understanding of the company grade and NCO expectations,” he said.

Each trip is scheduled to last two weeks and cadets spend at least 30 hours observing active duty Airmen tackle their responsibilities.

Cadet 1st Class Christopher Mahoney said his time at Peterson and Schriever Air Force Bases was an “eye opening’ experience.”

“I learned there are a lot of opportunities in the military,” he said. “Every job has its own unique mission and is necessary for total mission accomplishment.”

Along with meeting active-duty Airmen and observing how they manage the tools of their trade, Mahoney spent time sweating it out inside of a bomb suit worn by explosive ordnance disposal Airmen.

“I learned on Operation Air Force that it doesn't matter where you are or what you do. What matters most is that you do whatever you do well,” Mahoney said.

Other Air Force installations included in this year’s Operation Air Force schedule are Altus AFB, Oklahoma; Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio; Andrews AFB, Maryland; Joint-Base San Antonio, Texas; Kunsan Air Base, South Korea; Ramstein AB, Germany; Yokota AB, Japan; and air bases in Southwest Asia.