AMXS NCO mentor cadets 8,000 miles a second

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Christian Michael
  • 379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The image was small but the smiles were big as four deployed service members connected to a classroom full of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets in North Carolina, more than 8,000 miles away.

Video conferencing with Piedmont High School AFJROTC NC-955 in Monroe, N.C., Feb. 25, C-17 pilot 1st Lt. Anne Marie Kemp, loadmaster Airman 1st Class Vincenzo Denisi and intelligence analyst Airman 1st Class Omari Briggs -- deployed from 437th Airlift Wing, Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., and flying crew chief Tech. Sgt. Tara Jackson,, deployed from the 62nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The members talked with students about their lives in the Air Force, experiences while deployed and their individual careers.

"One of the most important things I think we tried to convey to the cadets was our teamwork - how the pilots, loadmasters, FCC, and intel work as a team and no part is greater or less than any other part," said Denisi, a former school teacher. "During this experience, I also had the opportunity to learn and grow, the biggest take away being the excitement and support from younger Americans who are willing and able to step in and continue the fight."

The 30-minute session offered students an opportunity to go straight to the source, asking service members directly about the Air Force and military lifestyle. Despite the eight-hour difference, Airmen and Cadet Airmen connected.

"I wanted to highlight the Air Force to our cadets while enhancing their understanding of the Air Force and its mission," said Chief Master Sgt. Dwight Holmes (Ret.), AFJROTC instructor with NC-955. "I think the cadets had more questions about the Air Force after the Skyping session than they have all year."

The Cadet Airmen soaked in what the deployed members shared, giving the students more to think about as they plan their own future careers.

"What I got from the conversation with the deployed Airmen was the pros and cons of the Air Force, and what Airman life was like overseas. We got a taste of what being a pilot, a crew chief, a loadmaster and an intelligence analyst is like," said Cadet Staff Sgt. Maverick Sprowles, a sophomore who wants to join the U.S. Navy as a combat camera specialist. "I loved that these Airmen donated their own time to talk to our unit and answer our questions that we asked."

The Airmen, too, gained their own perspectives from the opportunity.

"I thought it was cool talking with people like that, people trying to figure out what they want to do with their life and influencing them, give them a better idea of things are like here," Kemp said. "I hope they were able to learn."