JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —
Two oversized buses carrying eager college students rolled onto base on the slushy cold morning of Nov. 14.
For some of the 60 Texas Christian University Air Force ROTC cadets, it was the first time seeing a military base in action.
The prospective officers learned about Remote Piloted Aircraft at the 558th Flying Training Squadron and witnessed a military working dog demonstration from the 902nd Security Forces Squadron.
“The cadets were extremely professional, eager to learn and excited about their futures from what I could tell,” said Capt. Nathan Bratka, 902nd SFS operations officer. “They look like they will be great assets for our future Air Force.”
Freshman Cadet Audrey Doffing came to JBSA-Randolph because she wanted to know about careers beyond looking at job descriptions in an online brochure.
“When you’re actually talking to people you can ask them the best and worst thing about their job, and they will actually tell you,” said Doffing. “The worst thing about it, the worst still doesn’t seem that bad to me.”
Cadet Matthew Flynn, the ROTC detachment’s training squadron commander, organized the trip.
“Touring base shows them that link between career fields that are inter webbed with each other to create an Air Force that functions on a daily basis,” he said.
Cadets also heard from a panel of four officers in different career fields.
“I always love sitting back with the Q and A sessions with the officers,” said Flynn. “Gives us an opportunity to dig into the career fields and pick their brains.”
Cadet Benjamin Fowler attended to hear perspectives from officers. He wanted to consider career paths and ask questions, because to him the Air Force is not just a job.
“You join the Air Force, it’s a lifestyle,” said Fowler. “There are technical aspects and you’re a people person too, so I feel like getting a view on how they balance it is very important.”
Lastly, the future officers toured the 560th Flying Training Squadron and stood in windy, cold, drizzling rain awaiting an opportunity to sit in a T-38 Talon.
Despite the soggy weather, the cadets weren’t deterred. They were even more motivated about what was in forecast for their futures.
“I see myself as a leader, leading and instructing people, and having an impact on people’s lives,” said Doffing. “I want to be in the military to defend my country. To make a difference in the whole U.S. and in people’s lives specifically. I think that there is no greater way to do that than to be an officer.”