314 AW showcases Herk Nation to future leaders

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Julian Atkins
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Airmen assigned to 314th Airlift Wing flew to Jackson, Tennessee and Smyrna, Tennessee to conduct off-station training as well as showcase the Herk Nation mission to local students and cadets, Sept. 22-23, 2023.

“The purpose of this trip was to provide continuation training for formal training instructors; conduct visual low levels and proficiency training in high pressure altitude environments; and highlight aviation opportunities to students from rural communities,” said Capt. Logan Collier, 714th Training Squadron instructor pilot.

After departing Little Rock AFB, the crew made a brief stop in Jackson, Tenn., and spoke with three different Junior ROTC groups from local high schools. Amongst the JROTC cadets, Delayed Entry Program members from the local recruiting station also toured the C-130J aircraft assigned to the 62nd Airlift Squadron.

AFJROTC objectives are to educate and train high school cadets in citizenship and life skills, promote community service, instill a sense of responsibility and develop character, leadership and self-discipline. Those objectives are met through education and instruction in air and space fundamentals and the Air Force’s core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence In All We Do.

The cadets and students had the opportunity to explore the aircraft, share their knowledge and interests with the aircrew, ask questions about aviation, and take pictures along the way.

“Trips like these provide youth access to Air Force assets and the opportunity to engage directly with active-duty aircrew on a personal level,” Collier said.

The Airmen were able to speak with students and share their experiences serving in the U.S. Air Force and share information about multiple Air Force career fields.

“This experience gives them a more tangible idea of what’s out there,” said Staff Sgt. Glennon Parks, 314th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief. “It shows them the bigger picture of what they could be doing. They could either be flying the plane, supporting and maintaining the plane, or even jumping out of it.”

After Jackson, Tenn., the crew flew into Smyrna, Tenn., and spoke with special needs students from The King’s Daughters’ School in Columbia, Tenn. The King’s Daughters’ School promotes independence through educational, residential and community services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

While in Smyrna, they were also able to meet with ROTC cadets from Detachment 790 in Nashville, Tenn.

Detachment 790 is unique in that it gathers its members from Tennessee State University, as well as from Austin Peay State University, Belmont University, David Lipscomb University, Fisk University, Middle Tennessee State University, and several other colleges and universities.

“This experience is gratifying because it provides people who haven't been in or have approached a military aircraft the ability to expand their horizons on opportunities in the military,” said Staff Sgt. Gaven Clark, 62nd AS loadmaster. “It demonstrates the purpose of what these aircraft are used for.”