Airmen from Moody AFB visit cadets

An HH-60G Pave Hawk from the 66th Rescue Squadron out of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., 58th Rescue Squadron out of Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. a geographically separated unit (GSU) of the 23d Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., hovers as a simulated downed pilot is hoisted up during a personnel recovery demonstration for the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Nov. 4, 2011. The demonstration consisted of multiple squadrons from the 23rd Wing working together to secure an area and retrieve the pilot. It took under two minutes for the team to secure, retrieve, and evacuate the downed pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/Released)

Airmen with the 58th Rescue Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., conduct a combat search and rescue demonstration at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., Nov. 4, 2011. The demonstration consisted of multiple squadrons from the 23rd Wing, headquartered at Moody AFB, Ga., working together to secure an area and retrieve a pilot. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia)

Cadet 4th Class Jacob Jasiewicz, Cadet Squadron 9, showcases his dorm room to a U.S. Air Force LtCol. Jackie Day, 23rd Medical Support Squadron, Moody Air Force Base, Ga., during a tour of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., Nov. 4, 2011. The cadets interacted with Team Moody members from Nov. 3-7, where they gained knowledge on the operational Air Force and were able to show Moody members academy life. The cadets dorm rooms must remain in inspection order throughout the day and their doors stay open for on the spot inspections. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/Released)

Cadet 4th Class Jacob Jasiewicz showcases his dormitory to 23rd Medical Support Squadron Commander Lt. Col. Jackie Day at the Air Force Academy Nov. 4, 2011. Cadets' rooms must stay in inspection order at all times. Day was one of a group of Airmen visiting the Academy from the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia)

U.S. Air Force Cadet 2nd Class Carlos Berreteaga, academy glider pilot for the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., briefs U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Jennifer Matthews, 23rd Force Supports Squadron, and U.S. Air Force Col. Billy Thompson, 23rd Wing Commander, both from Moody Air Force Base, Ga., about the glider aerobatics team during an academy tour, Nov. 4, 2011. Throughout the program cadets learn how to fly gliders and will earn their aeronautical wings. The upperclassmen cadets also compete in national and international competitions throughout their stay at the academy.  (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Joshua J. Garcia/Released)

Cadet 2nd Class Carlos Berreteaga familiarizes 1st Lt. Jennifer Matthews and Col. Billy Thompson about the Academy's glider aerobatics team during the officers' visit to the Air Force Academy Nov. 4, 2011. Upper-class cadets compete in national and international gliding contests. Thompson is commander of the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga. Matthews is assigned to the 23rd Force Support Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Airmen from the 23rd Wing at Moody Air Force Base, Ga., visited the cadets of Cadet Squadron 09 at the Air Force Academy Nov. 3-7 to provide mentorship and motivation.

Because Moody AFB is CS 09's sponsor base, Airmen from the 23rd Wing regularly visit the Academy, and cadets frequently accompany 23rd Wing Airmen on tours of their base.

"We learn a lot here but don't get to see much of the operational Air Force," Cadet 2nd Class Stephen Welling said. "I think it's important to hear about life after the Academy and to see there is a mission going on besides just classes, marching and regulations."

The group of mentors who visited the Academy included enlisted leaders, company grade officers and commanders. Maj. Sean Monteiro, the 75th Fighter Squadron's assistant operations director, said it was the wing's third trip.

"When I was a cadet there, we never got anything like this," said Monteiro, a 1997 graduate. "I think it is great to show them our mission and interact with them. We provided them with an operation perspective from (Airmen) who have been in the fight."

During the visit, Moody Airmen attended a dinner social with the squadron, lunch with the Cadet Wing, a question-and-answer session and a tour of the cadet campus. The trip also included a personnel recovery demonstration and a chance to talk to the rescue teams.

Lt. Col. Pat Boland, the 23rd Wing's director of staff, said there were two objectives to the visit: to demonstrate the wing's unique capabilities and to answer cadets' questions about the operational Air Force.

"There is an ongoing effort to mentor the future leaders of the Air Force," Boland said. "We also want to understand the generation gap. We want to see what they are doing right now and understand their questions and concerns to provide them with answers from current leaders."

Welling will apply for jobs in February and said he is currently thinking about a job as an air liaison officer, a combat rescue officer, a security forces officer or cross commissioning into to Army.

"The combat rescue officers told us it doesn't get much easier and to never give up," Welling said. "That was reaffirming to hear from young officers."

For cadets at the Academy, most of the operational Airmen they encounter are the officers who instruct the classes.

"The only enlisted Airmen we see are master sergeants and above," said Welling. "I was more nervous seeing a senior airman than a colonel because I had never seen one before."