Columbus AFB instructor pilots mentor cadets

  • Published
  • By Airman Davis Donaldson
  • 14th Flying Training Wing

Five 14th Flying Training Wing instructor pilots from Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, visited Marion Military Institute, in Marion, Alabama, Feb. 10 to answer cadets’ questions about Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Amongst the five Air Force officers, there were Army, Coast Guard, Marine and Navy officers to answer questions about ROTC and their respective branch’s service academies.

The day began with the officers arriving and conversing with the cadets at lunch. After, the cadets and officers gathered in a room to hold a group discussion about the cadet’s possible career paths.

The five Air Force IPs were Academy graduates and 1st Lt. Everett Montano, 37th Flying Training Squadron IP, said he thought this opportunity was essential for the cadets to have an understanding of the Academy.

“I think speaking to the cadets was important because I remember being in their shoes and not knowing anything about what was in store for my future,” Montano said. “I wanted to be able to help fill some of those gaps in their uncertainty and help them build a better path.”

Montano said the panel allowed cadets to get a sense of the different opportunities the military can offer to officers.

After the group discussion, the officers were separated into different rooms to focus on the various service academies. The cadets followed the officers based on the academy they planned to pursue.

Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Thomas Bowen, MMI director and coordinator of the event, said he was grateful for the Columbus AFB IPs to visit and mentor the cadets.

“It’s an opportunity for anybody who wants to go to the Air Force Academy to look forward to what they can become,” Bowen said. “The cadets were able to witness the five officers’ different paths and are given an opportunity to emulate a similar path.”