Solano County students tour Travis Air Force Base

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Daniel Peterson
  • 349th Air Mobility Wing

The 349th Air Mobility Wing Development and Training Flight hosted students from the local school district for a tour of Travis AFB, March 24, 2023.

The D&TF program is designed to guide newly enlisted airmen and assist them in the development of skills in preparation for basic military training. Concepts such as drill, reporting statements, rank structure, and readiness requirements are among the items the program focuses on.

“Besides their recruiter, we’re that first military face they see prior to going to BMT,” said Master Sgt. Jessica Cramer, 349 AMW D&TF coordinator. “They all come back and tell us how much the program has helped them, and that it was a jumpstart to their Air Force career attending the development and training flight.”

This tour, in association with the Education to Employment program, was the first of its kind. Susan Labrecque, senior director, resource development, and transition and post-secondary options at Solano County Office of Education, reached out to Cramer to plan a tour for 16 of her students. The E2E program introduces students, who have been out of school or at risk of dropping out, to various opportunities such as employment activities, robotics, construction, diverse trade classes, and a glimpse of military life.

“We’re trying to expose them to different things, so they make good choices to have a good future ahead of them,” said Labrecque. “This is an opportunity to give these kids a better perspective of the military so that they can make this a possible option.”

Labrecque and her team identified a group of students they thought would benefit from the program and what the military has to offer. The primary goal of the tour was to generate interest in young people unfamiliar with the military and give them a broad look at the Air Force.

The students were welcomed by Staff Sgt. Steve Kwak, a recruiter with the 349 AMW, who gave an introductory brief and answered their questions about enlisting. The group visited base facilities, including the dormitories, to experience living on a military base. Afterwards, the students were taken to the flight line to see a KC-10A Extender up close, look out the cockpit windows, and sit in the boom pod. The final stop included the Monarch Dining Facility for chow.

“The flight line was such a huge hit. Some of these kids have never been on an aircraft before,” Cramer said. “So, this is the first aircraft that they have ever been on, which is a really cool story to go back and tell their families about.”

Most students reacted positively to the day’s events, from admiring the KC-10A to loading up their plates at the DFAC. Several students reached out to our recruiter for further information.

“It’s been a really cool experience. I loved getting to see all the planes,” said Jesse Neal, a 17-year-old student with plans to enlist. “Just seeing how everything works on base and how everything comes together, makes me want to join the military way more.”

The D&TF hopes to make this a regular event in cooperation with the local school district.

“This was the first year we’ve done something like this, and it probably won’t be the last,” Cramer said. “I think if we develop it and come up with more ideas, as far as what to showcase to these kids, it will be more of an eye opener for them on what the military can provide.”