Cadets get KMC experience

Staff Sgt. Brian Hill, Story and photo
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***A group of 16 cadets from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., are here to gain experience from KMC members.

As part of a program called Operation Air Force, the cadets spend three weeks shadowing career fields and touring facilities.

To some, the experience has been a lot of fun and educational.
“It’s an eye opener to what the operational Air Force is like,” said Cadet 2nd Class Chris Weston. “Here there’s more of a sense of purpose to what you do.”

According to Capt. Ed Grundel, Ramstein’s point of contact for the program, this is the third group of cadets to visit the KMC this summer. And in previous years, only juniors participated – this year, all three upper classes from the academy have the opportunity to participate.

“The juniors are to spend half their time in an (operations) unit and the other half in a support unit,” said Captain Grundel. “The seniors have selected their (Air Force Specialty Codes, or career fields) and are spending the entire three weeks with an officer from their selected AFSC.”

Cadet 1st Class Alan Martinez, a senior, shadows 1st Lt. Taylor Johnston, from the 76th Airlift Squadron, for the first half of the program.

“It’s been a great reality check for someone who’s going to be active duty in less than a year,” he said.

The group is scheduled to tour Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the Contingency Response Group, and the Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility, as well as receive briefings from senior leadership.

“They receive briefings on what is expected of lieutenants when they graduate and report to their first duty station,” added Captain Grundel.

Throughout the summer months, cadets are assigned to units such as civil engineers, public affairs, finance, maintenance and weather.

“It’s been great to experience Air Force life overall,” said Cadet 2nd Class Bjorn Langefeld.