Air show fever overtakes Red Wolves classroom

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. John Obermark
  • 336th Training Squadron
It was a random Wednesday afternoon and my programming class had just finished its progress check. Well, maybe not so random. It was, after all, air show week! 

My students were exhausted and dragging, trying to get through those last boring minutes of class. All through their progress check, we heard the whooshing of a jet engine and I saw the sneers on their faces -- we're stuck inside a classroom, and outside there's this magnificent piece of machinery just zipping around! 

So I caved. I told them, "Grab your hats and your bags and let's go outside!" This isn't s rare occasion for me. I've been known to take random field trips when the week seems to just drag on. 

Outside, we couldn't see anything other than the usual C-130s. There's nothing wrong with that -- we love our Hurricane Hunters -- but we knew the cream of the Air Force crop was out there on the flightline somewhere -- all we had to do was find them! 

We trekked around and eventually wound up by the fire station. We maneuvered through and eventually wound up by the flightline fence. We were standing there drooling, like kids peeking into a candy store, at Thunderbird No. 8; when a Master Sergeant on a forklift came zooming by! He said, "Take them out on the flightline for a closer look." 

Keep in mind, we're programmers and have no idea how to act on the flight line. We're out there with our hats on and goofy grins on our faces, clearly out of place. We were about 30 feet from this beautiful F-16 when another master sergeant asked if we wanted to help unload the "pods" from the jet. 

My Airmen's face lit up and I could tell that I was now officially the coolest instructor ever. 

So they unloaded the pods, which are a pretty nifty inventions of themselves. They're hollowed-out bombs used to transport the pilot and crew chief's supplies --like luggage racks for an F-16. 

I reunited with an old colleague from Gunter Annex, Ala. Tech. Sgt. Timothy Brown turned out to the be the crew chief. 

In less than an hour, our detail was over, but the memories that all of those involved left upon my Airmen won't be soon forgotten. 

My students and I are grateful to everyone involved in making this experience a memorable one. My students made me proud with their attention to detail in regards to customs and courtesies towards the crew chief and pilot. They're a great class who will mature into a great set of Airmen!