Sunday, April 26, 2009

142nd Fighter Wing stands up first ever student flight

Staff Sgt. Joe King, 142FW Student Flight Fitness Director, briefs students on the route for their 1.5-mile run at the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Ore., April 18, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John Hughel, 142 Fighter Wing Public Affairs).

A group of new Redhawks attended the first 142nd Fighter Wing Student Flight meeting at the Portland Air National Guard Base in Portland, Ore., April 18, 2009.

The student flight is made up of new recruits and prior service members waiting to attend U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training and technical schools. The group of about 30 individuals met during the fighter wing’s Unit Training Assembly.

While the student flight’s course work on UTA weekends might be review for some, for others, the military culture, customs and courtesies, and rank recognition is brand new, said student flight officer in charge, Capt. Lisa Scott.

The aim of the program is to mentor incoming airmen about the rigors of Basic Military Training and technical schools, Scott said.

“It’s critical that we take care of our airmen from the very beginning,” she said.

According to the curriculum plan, participants will memorize Air Force core values and study Air Force Instruction. Periodic meetings and presentations from section first sergeants and chiefs, in addition to instruction on military acronyms and watching safety videos will be the norm. Scott said the students will have ‘homework’ that aims help them transition into becoming Redhawks.

Students will also participate in a regular physical fitness program, headed up by Staff Sgt. Joe King, of the 142 Fighter Wing Aircraft Maintenance Group.

“Even though they haven’t been formally trained in the military, they can still acquire knowledge that’ll help them be successful in their careers,” Scott added.

Senior Master Sgt. Kirk Robinson, Oregon Air National Guard Recruiting and Retention Superintendant, said the student flight provides a basic transition into military culture.

“What are the standards? What are the expectations we have of them?” Robinson asks. “If they’re going to look like airmen, they need to act like airmen.”

Robinson, who isn’t a regular cadre member, but mentors and advises the team, said part of the impetus behind the new student flight is the success he and others experienced after starting a similar group at the Oregon Air National Guard’s other wing in Klamath Falls.

The goal of cadre members, says Robinson, is to make the students’ time before BMT, or the transition from BMT to formal technical schools meaningful, which will relieve some of their stress when they get there. He added that he would personally like to see more of them achieve honor graduate status, and programs like the student flight will help.

“Their success is our success,” he said.

Scott’s motivation goes much deeper. She and the other cadre members hope to convey their personal passion for service and sacrifice.

“Our staff shares a passion for not only serving our country, but also for mentoring the future of our military,” Scott said.

For more information about the 142nd FW Student Flight, contact Capt. Lisa Scott at 503-335-4072.

Story by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Social Media Manager

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