Cadets experience Air Force enlisted, NCO world

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets practice their M9 pistol skills at the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance range  on June 14. The ROTC cadets were here for three weeks as part of Operation Air Force, which gives them a realistic idea of how the Air Force completes its various missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elliott Sprehe)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets practice their M9 pistol skills at the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance range on June 14. The ROTC cadets were here for three weeks as part of Operation Air Force, which gives them a realistic idea of how the Air Force completes its various missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Elliott Sprehe)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Thirty Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets repainted a plane, worked at 27th Fighter Wing squadrons and practiced marksmanship skills here as they became familiar with how the Air Force enlisted and NCO Airmen takes care of business. 

The cadets participated in the portion of the Operation Air Force program that provides freshman and sophomore college ROTC students an enlisted perspective of the operational Air Force. 

"A lot of the new lieutenants coming in don't (know about) the enlisted background, and this is that opportunity for them to learn that," said Maj. Kirstin Plagge, ROTC Detachment 860, Utah State University. 

The cadets working with various groups on base, including the wing staff agencies, during their stay that ends June 22. 

"Some of (the cadets) haven't ever been to a base before. It's important for them to know what goes on in the Air Force," said Maj. Plagge. 

The cadets performed junior enlisted-level tasks at the base medical, mission support, maintenance and operations groups under the supervision of a senior NCO. This gives them opportunities to experience the different missions squadrons perform in its group. 
The cadets spent their downtime refurbishing  the F-111 Memorial in nearby Clovis and experienced some of the recreational activities an Air Force base offers. 

They  took   day trip to Ute Lake June 16 and also practiced marksmanship skills on the M9 pistol at the Combat Arms Training and Maintenance range as well . 

"It's also an opportunity for them to realize is this something they really want to do, something that interests me," said Tech. Sgt. Michelle Crawford, ROTC Det. 159, University of Central Florida. 

The group of cadets is the first of three ROTC groups that will visit Cannon this summer.