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108th Wing provides once-in-a-lifetime experience to local Air Force JROTC cadets

Cadets from Southern Regional High School's Air Force Junior ROTC program in Manahawkin, N.J., pose in front of a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 108th Wing's fleet at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Jan. 18. The cadets were given an opportunity to view a refueling mission by the KC-135 during an orientation flight hosted by the 108th Wing's public affairs office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th WG/PA)

Cadets from Southern Regional High School's Air Force Junior ROTC program in Manahawkin, N.J., pose in front of a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 108th Wing's fleet at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Jan. 18. The cadets were given an opportunity to view a refueling mission by the KC-135 during an orientation flight hosted by the 108th Wing's public affairs office. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Armando Vasquez, 108th WG/PA)

JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. --   Having never seen the inside of a KC-135 Stratotanker, cadets Frank Gradzki and Vincent Giersch were delighted to be able to sit in the jump seat of the aircraft during the take-off and landing of an air refueling mission by the crew of the 108th Wing.
 
  "I saw my house and my old middle school," said Giersch.
 
  "It was awesome to see how the pilots maneuver the plane and how they interact in the cockpit," said Gradzki.
 
  Gradzki and Giersch were among the 19 Air Force Junior ROTC cadets from Southern Regional High School in Manahawkin, N.J., that were provided with an opportunity to experience an orientation flight on Jan. 18, at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
 
  The orientation flight was coordinated by the 108th Wing's public affair officer, Capt. April Doolittle.
 
  "The purpose of these flights is to motivate and familiarize Air Force JROTC cadets with the role and missions of the 108th Wing," said Doolittle.
 
  This event introduces the young cadets to general aviation and military opportunities through hands-on interaction with an aircraft, equipment and personnel.
 
  In addition, these flights are an excellent recruiting tool for the New Jersey Air National Guard and possibly the Air Force's active duty component.
 
  After receiving a safety briefing from the flight crew and watching a video on emergency evacuation procedures, Cadets were able to observe the flight and refueling of a KC-10 Extender over the Atlantic Ocean.