Students with Wenatchee High School’s Air Force Junior ROTC program took flight on September 5th in a first-of-its-kind experience for WHS cadets. Four passenger planes provided by the Civil Air Patrol arrived on Pangborn Memorial Airport’s tarmac Tuesday morning from all across the state. 34 student cadets met with aviation staff to participate in safety checks and climb aboard the planes alongside experienced pilots.
Taking students to the skies wasn’t an easy feat for program coordinator Colonel Ben Akins. This opportunity has been nearly a year in the making, being dependent on both weather conditions and funding. With only a few months in fall and spring with appropriate weather and several schools throughout the state wanting to take part, Akins was eager to schedule early in the school year. Lots of planning must also be done before a plane is even loaded. Organizers need to take additional factors like weight and weather into consideration to ensure a smooth flight.
Events like this are mutually beneficial for JROTC and Civil Air Patrol, says Akins, demonstrating the benefits of taking part in both programs to new and potential recruits. Aside from the experience, the flights fulfill an essential role of the program, providing students with an aerospace science Curriculum In Action, required by the U.S. Air Force. AFJROTC is eager to continue partnering with the Civil Air Patrol for similar experiences going forward.
All that hard work has proved to be worth it for students joining JROTC. Now in its second year, recruitment shows no signs of slowing down. One new cadet, senior Miguel Gomez, has been involved with the Civil Air Patrol for some time, and with some encouragement from sophomore Dawson Brender, joined JROTC to expand his portfolio.
To learn more about Wenatchee High School JROTC, contact Col. Ben Akins at email@example.com.