6/7/2012 - GRISSOM AIR RESERVE BASE, Ind. -- More than 30 members of Cadet Squadron 28 from the U.S. Air Force Academy visited Grissom recently as part of a special sponsorship program that pairs cadet squadrons with operational wings throughout the Air Force.
The program provides academy cadets the opportunity to enhance their knowledge of various Air Force missions through base tours and interaction with Airmen in assorted career fields.
"Awesome visit," said Maj. Oliver Johnson, Cadet Squadron 28 commander, regarding the trip to Grissom and the tour of the 434th Air Refueling Wing. "A great look at Total Force operations and way of life of Indiana citizen Airmen."
The idea to include Air Force Reserve units in the program was a joint effort of Air Force Reserve Command headquarters and the USAFA superintendent's staff. Currently, there are four reserve units associated with the program, and the 434th ARW was the first to host a base visit. The other AFRC wings involved in the program are located at Westover ARB, Mass.; NAS Joint Reserve Base Forth Worth, Texas; and Homestead ARB, Fla.
The cadets traveled to and from Grissom via a KC-135R Stratotanker and witnessed aerial refueling operations between the tanker and a Navy E-6 Mercury Airborne Command Post. The base visit included tours of the 74th Air Refueling Squadron, KC-135 flight simulator, air traffic control facility and various aircraft maintenance areas.
"Great insight into how our military operates on a 'One Fight, One Team' concept," added Johnson.
During their stay at Grissom, the cadets were presented with a 434th Air Refueling Wing flag, which will be carried by the squadron during the weekly parade at the Academy.
"The cadets were extremely professional and very interested in all events," stated Lt. Col Tom Riedel, chief of current operations at Grissom. "The idea for the visit was to inform the cadets about AFRC units and how they have a vital role in our total force. The biggest benefit was exposing the cadets to the Reserve component and answering their many questions."
Cadet Squadron 28 is one of 40 squadrons at the Air Force Academy and has 104 members. It is currently ranked 10th overall, based on academics, athletics and military bearing. As the sponsorship program increases, the goal is for Cadet Squadron 28 to visit Grissom on an annual basis.
The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R unit in AFRC. Stay connected with the 434th ARW on Facebook and Twitter.