EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 33rd Fighter Wing hosted 24 students, ages 16-20, as part of the Air Force Recruiting Service’s, Detachment 1 AIM HIGH Flight Academy program June 7-8 at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida.
The AHFA provides an opportunity for students to gain hands-on flying training from experienced aviators and U.S. Air Force mentors. These instructors and mentors also provide them with information about aviation careers, flying opportunities and share their experiences as Air Force aviators.
“The purpose of the academy is our rated diversity initiative. We’re here to help all types of students become competitive for rated Air Force spots,” said Maj. Kenneth Thomas, AHFA commander.
The three-week summer program is designed to meet the chief of staff of the Air Force’s Rated Diversity Improvement strategy to increase interests in rated career fields in underrepresented groups, especially youth.
“Every day, we get to spend a few hours at ground school, a few hours in a flight simulator, and then at the end of the day, we get to fly,'' said Milo Clark, an AHFA student and U.S. Air Force ROTC cadet attending Harvard University.
As part of the program, students were able to take an inspirational flight in a KC-135 Stratotanker assigned to 6th Air Refueling Wing at MacDill AFB, Florida. The students witnessed F-35A Lightning IIs and F-22 Raptors refuel mid-flight.
Prior to takeoff, students were able to interact with pilots from the 33rd FW, listen to first-hand experiences, and ask questions about their careers. Some groups were also briefed by Maj. Gen. Craig Wills, 19th Air Force commander, as part of a GO Inspire event during his visit to the 33rd FW.
“Believe in yourself,” said Wills. “Whether you decide to fly, whether you decide to eventually, hopefully, join us in the Air Force, or whatever you decide to do, just believe in yourself.”
The 33rd FW aims to inspire future generations by partnering with programs like AHFA, which gives our nation’s youth an opportunity to learn about what the Air Force has to offer and the avenues they can pursue to become a rated officer.
The 33rd FW has been designated an AIM Wing, which is a new program created by Det.1.
“The AIM Wing program is our latest program specifically designed to connect the local youth with the aviation mentors of the Wing.” said Lt. Col. Jay Park, Det. 1 commander. “The 33rd FW and 6th ARW have been critical in the execution of this program and inspiring next generation aviators.”
As one of three AIM Wings, the 33rd FW will also host the AHFA students and their families for an upcoming graduation ceremony and provide a student wing tour June 18.
For more information about the AHFA visit aimhighflightacademy.com.