Air Guard youth tour Bradley ANG Base

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Joshua Mead
  • 103rd Public Affairs
In the style of a take-your-kid-to-work-day, the 103rd Airlift Wing hosted a tour for the children of Air Guardsmen on April 4, 2014. The event was sponsored by the Connecticut Child and Youth Program, a Connecticut National Guard program that aims at providing support and services for young dependents of Guardsmen in Connecticut.

The tour included a trip to the 103rd Civil Engineer Squadron's fire house to see and climb into the fire trucks, a guided walk-through of a C-130H out on the flightline and up close look at a security forces demo.

"Woah, that's a lot of buttons," said Tori Pilletere, 12, referring to the many dials, buttons and switches inside the cockpit of the C-130H. Tori is the daughter of Capt. Cheryl Mead, installation deployment officer, 103rd Logistics Readiness Squadron.

Do you have to know what every button does?, asked Cody Foran, 16, son of Master Sgt. Kirk Foran, 103rd Maintenance Squadron, quality assurance office.

"Yes," said 1st Lt. Paul Bolduc plainly, "every single one." Bolduc, a pilot with the 118th Airlift Squadron, was one of the subject matter experts talking to the youth about the C-130H and its capabilities.

According to the program's manager, Michelle McCarty, the child and youth program coordinator for the Connecticut National Guard, the intent of the event was to get more Air Guard children involved with the Connecticut youth program.

"This was the first of many. In the future, my hope is to have many more and make it open to children of other services. That way, all of those kids can network together and support each other. It's a win-win," said Donna Rivera, the Airman and family readiness manager, and co-coordinator of the event.

Towards the end of the tour, attendees were able to put hands on some of the equipment that the 103rd Security Forces use in line with their job of base defense. Master Sgt. Marc Cioto explained the various types of firearms used by security forces, ranging from the reliable M-9 pistol to the versatile M-4 carbine to the quite heavy SAW, or squad automatic weapon-- as Cioto described it.

After the brief overview of the equipment, tour participants were able to see first-hand one of the many training exercises that the members of the 103rd Security Forces Squadron have to complete every year.

This 'shoot, move, communicate' training exercise uses simunition, a type of non-lethal training rounds, and real weapons to teach security forces Airmen how to maneuver and fire through a situation as a team.

According to Senior Master Sgt. Kurt Smith, the chief of security at Bradley Air National Guard Base, "The importance of showing these tactics to the youth on the tour is to show that in real life, unlike it can sometimes be portrayed in the movies, military forces moving to engage hostile threats are not acting on a whim but in a pre-planned, coordinated effort to neutralize the threat. No one is just running into gunfire hoping for the best outcome."

According to Tori, her favorite part was watching security forces, but judging from the smiles and laughter, the youth all seemed to have a good time learning about the wing and its mission.