Calling Student Pilots; AFSOC recruits at CAFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jessica Blocher
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Through a new AFSOC initiative, the 492nd and Columbus Air Force Base are building a career-broadening bridge for new aviators to learn more about AFSOC’s unique mission and airframes. With unique training and operational missions, the 492nd is an ideal partner to educate and recruit future Air Commandos.

Pilots and aircrew from the AC-130J Ghostrider, MC-130J Commando II, U-28A Draco and C-146A Wolfhound Mission Design Series (MDS) travelled to CAFB to provide a capabilities brief of each aircraft to UPT students along with a static display of the MC-130J Commando II.

“The purpose of the visit is to interact with students, talk to them about a career in AFSOC and what to expect once they are here,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Shahen, 492nd Special Operations Training Group operations officer. “The 492nd is aligned to Columbus AFB, so there will be a continued relationship between the two. We’ll be able to keep in touch with the students we have engaged with and hopefully persuade them to join us at AFSOC.”

During the static display of the MC-130J, students were able to meet face-to-face with the crew and ask questions about the aircraft. The display made it possible for students to experience a hands-on tour of the aircraft.

The display was followed by a briefing on AFSOC and 492nd SOW missions for the FAIPs and student pilots.

Shahen explained ways to get involved in the AFSOC community as well as steps to take if a student is interested in joining AFSOC.

“Throughout the pilot training process, I would research the different aircraft that AFSOC flies,” said Shahen. “I would inform your instructor of your interest in AFSOC and place the aircraft you’re interested in flying on your dream sheet.”

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kevin Page, 34th Special Operations Squadron combat systems officer spoke about the U-28 and educated students about the opportunities through AFSOC during his visit.

“It’s cool to get to meet the students and it brings back the feeling of Undergraduate Pilot Training,” said Page. “Being able to answer their questions about the U-28 and being able to provide that face-to-face time with additional information about AFSOC is an honor.”

U.S. Air Force Capt. Kyle McCabe, 524th Special Operations Squadron pilot mentioned this trip to Columbus AFB is also a revisit to the place he had originally accomplished his pilot training.

“AFSOC is a specialized and unique community, which is why it’s important for these recruiters to come out and explain more information about the aircraft and about the lifestyle of having a career in AFSOC,” said McCabe. “This provides new pilots with an opportunity to be a part of an even more unique field.”

 “It’s super humbling coming back and reestablishing the roots that started me in my aviation career,” said McCabe. “It’s awesome seeing how eager and hungry the students are to get out there and learn as well as start their career in the United States Air Force.”