Operation AF broadens career choices for cadet

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Eric Burks
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
For one Air Force Academy cadet, a recent three-week visit to McChord was a real eye-opening experience.

"My dream aircraft was the A-10 Warthog," said Cadet Third Class Carly Olsowski, who aims to be a pilot after graduation, "but since I have been at McChord, I have begun to think that flying heavies is the sort of lifestyle that I would like to have."

Cadet Olsowski was one of 19 academy cadets who visited McChord from June 1 - 21 during the first phase of Operation Air Force, a career-broadening program.

While at McChord, the cadets had a chance to work with different squadrons and see what life in the operational Air Force was like.

Cadet Olsowski job-shadowed a loadmaster in the 7th Airlift Squadron for the first two weeks at McChord before spending the last week at the 62nd Logistics Readiness Squadron in deployment readiness.

"The other bonus (of job shadowing) is that my facilitator's office was back with the intel guys, so I was able to see a little of what goes on in there since it is on my list," she said, noting that if she is not selected for pilot or navigator training, she would like to become an intelligence officer.

She said it was a good experience to see the different types of careers and responsibilities of the Air Force.

"This was a great chance to see what the real Air Force is like compared to the only military training I know from the Academy," she said.

While working with the 7th AS, Cadet Olsowski participated in activities such as air drop training and local incentive flights, observed security forces demonstrations, and even went to Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii, and back on a short C-17 mission.

"The best experience by far was going to Hawaii," she said. "It was great to see some of the places that you can go and see while in the Air Force."

Cadet Olsowski, who unlike many cadets, does not have any family ties to the Air Force, said there were several reasons for choosing to attend the academy.

"I chose to go to the academy because I really wanted to get a great college education without having my parents having to pay a whole lot," she said. "The academy is the ultimate scholarship because I get the great education, the ability to fly, and a chance to serve my country."