There are not too many jobs out there where those that work in them beam with bride each day and have amazing and interesting stories that seem to be never ending. Where there is no such thing as a typical or average day and could include anything from flying a jet, a bomber, packing parachutes, providing life support, or being responsible for every intricate part great air craft may need in order to perform their missions.
I had the honor of spending part of my day with various folks from the 917th Wing of the Air Force Reserve Command and got to learn about their remarkable mission and the part they take in national security. The 917th Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, is home to both A-10 and B-52 aircraft. The A-10 schoolhouse mission is to train A/O A-10 pilots in initial qualification, forward air control and night vision goggles. The B-52 combat mission is to employ the bomber in support of Air Force worldwide conventional commitments.
The pictures below document some of the amazing things I got to learn about.
It was truly inspirational to hear the amount of pride each and every person I spoke to have in his or her work and that service to country and teamwork are the driving factors to success.
Aside from all the work they do inside the base, the difference they make in the community, and especially for school aged children can’t be left out. The 917th Wing happens to be a sponsor for the STARBASE program, one of 60 national sites that offer a very important curriculum. The STARBASE program presents a 25-hour hands on/minds on aviation and aerospace curriculum to area 5th grade students and their teachers. Committed to addressing the critical needs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, STARBASE introduces its students to these education subjects, inspiring youth to further explore these topics in future course work. The STARBASE program enables the base to truly make a difference in the local Louisiana educational arena.
My day ended with getting a chance to ask one very important question to the ten people I had a chance to meet with….Why the Air Force? With the amount of team work happening it shouldn’t have been surprising to me that everyone’s answers had to deal with doing something extraordinary and bigger than themselves. Colonel John Mooney the 917th Wing Commander shared a story with me that really stuck out. Prior to joining the Air Force, he’s worked at a number of other jobs and the Air Force is the only place that has allowed him to serve his country while feeling like he’s made a difference at the end of each and every day. It is a true inspiration knowing that those that enter into service careers do so bearing great responsibility while not wanting to trade it for anything else in the world.