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Conn. Guard demos job opportunities to high school students during Career Day

The 103rd Air Control Squadron showcases their radio frequency wideband terminal to students from West Haven High School during the 103rd Airlift Wing’s Career Day event May 13, 2010, at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. as a way to show students what career fields in the military can expand their current education. The event brought more than 400 students over the two days from 15 different schools to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

The 103rd Air Control Squadron showcases their radio frequency wideband terminal to students from West Haven High School during the 103rd Airlift Wing’s Career Day event May 13, 2010, at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. as a way to show students what career fields in the military can expand their current education. The event brought more than 400 students over the two days from 15 different schools to the base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Tech. Sgt. Jeff Collins, base supply, 103 Logistics Readiness Squadronm, gets into character to show high school students from Weaver High School, Hartford, Conn. how to properly don the MCU-2/P gas mask, May 13, 2010, in the hangar at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. during Career Day, a two-day event that shows high school students how the education they are getting now can transfer to jobs after school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

Tech. Sgt. Jeff Collins, base supply, 103 Logistics Readiness Squadronm, gets into character to show high school students from Weaver High School, Hartford, Conn. how to properly don the MCU-2/P gas mask, May 13, 2010, in the hangar at Bradley Air National Guard Base, East Granby, Conn. during Career Day, a two-day event that shows high school students how the education they are getting now can transfer to jobs after school. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead)

BRADLEY AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, East Granby, Conn. -- More than 400 students showed up to learn about careers and job opportunities in the Connecticut Air National Guard, May 13 and 14, 2010, during the base's Career Day event.

The event showcased various military exhibitions to raise awareness to the 15 different high schools in attendance that the Air Guard has jobs similar to what their students are learning in school.

"Career Day is about broadening and visualizing the job opportunities the high schools have prepared their students for," said Chief Master Sgt. Al Parent, quality assurance superintendant, 103rd Maintenance Group.

With the Air Guard having more than 120 jobs and 50 different specialties, the base is like its own little city, said Parent. Kids do not necessarily realize you can be a photographer in the military or a firefighter.

The event featured a Jaws of Life show where a car was torn apart showing the students what firefighters on base sometimes have to do when they respond to car accidents in East Granby.

"[Career Day] was a great opportunity for the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard to show off what they do on a day-to-day basis. The students got a firsthand look into what goes on behind the scenes to make military operations happen and they were also informed about the broad range of careers both organizations have to offer," said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Hann, recruiter, 103rd Airlift Wing.

Among the schools was the New Britain School and their special guest chaperon, former safety for the New England Patriots, Tebucky Jones. Working for the schools "Go Program," a program that aims at keeping kids in school and stressing the importance of education, Jones brought his students to career day to show them what he said was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"I think it's great," said Jones, "99 percent of kids may never get to see something like that."

Jones said that even he hasn't seen a helicopter like that up close, referring to the Blackhawk supplied by the Air Aviation Support Facility based in Windsor Locks, Conn.
Along with the helicopter, other exhibits included an Army military working dog show where the dog handlers put on a foam arm and showed the kids how the dogs are used to take down fleeing criminals and other bad guys that tried to attack the dog handler.

"Having an event like this where different jobs in the military are displayed is good for the kids and the military. We are able to show the different aspects of the military and they can see it is not just about guns and fighting, which is what they see on TV, but there are many types of jobs where the focus is on helping others," said Spc. Jacqueline Fish, dog handler, 119th Military Working Dog Detachment.

The two days came and went, and the last of the high school students boarded the buses to depart shortly after 1:00 p.m. with, hopefully, a new awareness of what the National Guard has to offer, or even a new way of looking at what to do with the skills they are learning in school.