Parkwood AFJROTC Visits McEntire Joint National Guard Base
On February 28, 2019 Parkwood AFJROTC cadets traveled to McEntire Joint National Guard Base in Eastover SC to learn about F-16 fighter operations. Because McEntire is a joint base, it hosts units from the Army and Air National Guard; cadets mostly got to see the Air Force side of the base. Soon after arrival cadets witnessed an F-16 formation takeoff, which was very loud; fortunately they were given ear plugs for hearing protection. They then entered a hangar for a closer look at the fighters/munitions. A pilot spoke about flying the planes and allowed cadets to climb a ladder and see the cockpit up close. Next cadets were taken to the Aircrew Flight Equipment section to see what type of preparation and gear it takes to fly the jets; examples are night vision goggles, parachutes, survival kits, and the high-tech $100,000 helmets that the pilots wear.
The next stop was the Security Forces squadron, which is another term for Air Force law enforcement. At the headquarters cadets viewed a video about Security Forces and their mission. Afterward, cadets were split into two groups and shown surveillance systems and weapons that are used locally and on deployments around the world.
After departing the base and having a mouth-watering BBQ buffet lunch, cadets visited the SC Military Museum in Columbia, about 20 minutes away. Exhibits included artifacts from regional and national military history from WWI to the present. It was very interesting, and most cadets wished they could have stayed longer than 1 ½ hours. All in all it was one of the best field trips of the year for AFJROTC, in terms of educational value and just plain fun!