Kadena youth program participates in F-15 outreach event

Staff Sgt. Haley Humphrey, 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 15 aerospace ground equipment instructor, briefs a group of students from Himawari School Age Care prior to an activity at Kadena Air Base, Japan, August 12, 2022. Students visited stations covering engines, electronics, flight controls and weapons as part of a field trip. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer)
Staff Sgt. Haley Humphrey, 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 15 aerospace ground equipment instructor, briefs a group of students from Himawari School Age Care prior to an activity at Kadena Air Base, Japan, August 12, 2022. Students visited stations covering engines, electronics, flight controls and weapons as part of a field trip. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer)

Kadena youth program participates in F-15 outreach event

by Airman 1st Class Tylir Meyer
18th Wing Public Affairs

\KADENA AIR BASE, Japan – The 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 15 hosted over 40 students from Himawari School Age Care as part of an outreach event at Kadena Air Base, Japan, August 12, 2022.

The 372nd TRS, Det 15 provides advanced technical training to maintainers of the 18th Wing. The students were offered a glimpse of the world of F-15 Eagles’ maintainers. During the event, the students were broken into groups and went through stations experiencing different components relating to F-15s, HH-60 Black Hawks and A-10 Warthogs. The students received F-15 flight control experience courtesy of a trainer, which maintainers may use to learn rigging on flight controls. This teaches proper installation of airframe components.

Another display was a gun that is used by the F-15, drum pylons and loader. Yet another station had F-15, HH-60 and A-10 engines. This allowed the students to see the equipment up close and interact with them. Both the instructors and students were able to learn from each other through the event.

Staff Sgt. Ivan Arango, 372nd TRS, Det 215 project manager for the tour said the event allowed the instructors to get experience teaching in a way that is unconventional for them. They were more attentive to an audience whose knowledge on the subjects was not what they were accustomed to.

“It helps us apply those methods that we may need to use on students who are military members or civilians,” Arango said. The Himawari SAC students came out of the experience with more knowledge and were able to learn what it is that some of their parents do.

“Their parents can talk about this all day, right?” said Arango. “They can say they were working with an engine. Or they were working on this gun or working with circuits. But for them to actually see it firsthand, they can now better understand what it is their parents do.”

Not only does it give them better insight into the work of maintainers, it is also a chance to inspire those who may be interested in joining the Air Force. “We want to show the students what we are currently working with,” said Master Sgt. Benjamin Alesse, 372nd TRS, Det 215 section chief. “It’s going to be them coming after us who will be coming up with all these better ideas.”

The next generation of Airmen will come up with better ways to build, operate and work on aircraft, Alesse said. The field trip gives the students the opportunity to begin ruminating these ideas at an early age. Moreover, events like this could prove beneficial. This was not the first time Himawari SAC and the 372nd collaborated.

In April, the 372nd participated in a career day event. Due to the limitations of the space and equipment the instructors could bring, they brought a tow vehicle and a VR headset to simulate an F-15 launch.

“We got this really good idea because they liked the VR that we showed them,” said Arango. “Let’s actually show them the other stuff we weren’t able to bring out there.”

The instructors hope there will be more opportunities in the future to share and educate students on F-15s. “I’m just really proud of my team,” said Alesse. “They came together and put their kid faces on for a minute. It’s hard for some people but it's important. It was a lot of fun and we definitely plan on doing this again.”

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