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Operations Air Force: USAFA cadets tour Columbus AFB

Air Force Operations

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet Bridger Barker and Capt. Michael Arakawa, 41st Flying Training Squadron instructor pilot prepare for a T-6A Texan II familiarization flight June 8, 2018, at Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi. Cadets from the Academy visited Columbus AFB over the last few weeks as part of the Academy's Operations Air Force Program to experience daily life and operations as an officer. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mary Crump)


Most college students go home in the summer to relax and recuperate after two semesters of challenging classes, but cadets at the Air Force Academy get the most out of that time by getting a better understanding of the operational Air Force they’ll be joining.

The Air Force Academy's Operations Air Force program sent six cadets to Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, June 2-20.

“The purpose of ‘Ops Air Force’ is to immerse cadets in Air Force culture and the active-duty environment -- the real Air Force, not the academic environment of USAFA,” said Capt. Daniel Hill, 37th Flying Training Squadron director of training and base director for Operation Air Force.

This program helps cadets see what type of work their preferred Air Force specialty code does operationally versus academically.

The cadets visited multiple shops across Columbus AFB and flew on familiarization flights in all three 14th Flying Training Wing aircraft; T-6A Texan II, T-1A Jayhawk and T-38C Talon.

Cadet Bridger Barker said he had never imagined being a pilot until he experienced some G-forces and now that is what he wants to pursue.

Hill stated that the cadets confidence was boosted by this trip and the program.

The Operation Air Force program showed these six cadets what they have forward to in their future Air Force career. The Airmen of Columbus AFB showcased their mission and dedication to service, hoping to inspire the young cadets.