VOLK FIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Wis. --
Approximately 30 junior enlisted Airmen from Wisconsin Air National Guard units throughout the state participated in the Junior Enlisted Orientation Program that took place at the 115th Fighter Wing, 128th Air Refueling Wing, and Volk Field July 25-27.
The JEOP allows Airmen to familiarize themselves with the ANG units throughout the state and better understand the capabilities of each, while providing them with fun, career developing experiences.
“The program shows younger Airmen the big picture of the WIANG,” said Master Sgt. Keith Hanse, the 115th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron First Sergeant. “Wisconsin is unique because we have fighter jets, refueling tankers, and a training center that all benefit from each other.”
Participating in the program not only shows the Airmen how each wing is a part of the big picture but how each and every job is a part of it as well, said Command Chief Master Sgt. Thomas J. Safer, the Wisconsin State command chief, Joint Force Headquarters.
When younger Airmen come out and see how each unit and career field operates it helps benefit their future Air Force career.
“Signing up for this shows you have the initiative to continue doing things throughout your career,” said Master Sgt. Cassie Richardson, the 115th Force Support Squadron First Sergeant.
Participating in the event also allows social connections to be made. The Airmen can make friends with others participating in the program, and have the opportunity to meet a lot of wing and squadron commanders they otherwise may not ever get to meet.
“Take the opportunity to try and make as many connections as you can and learn about their bases and career field,” said Brig. Gen. Gary L. Ebben, the Wisconsin assistant adjutant general for Air.
Way to often Airmen show up to work and stay within their squadrons day-in, day-out without networking with others.
“Doing something like this shows how their AFSC works with others to complete the mission and allows them to meet the people in those career fields,” said Master Sgt. Andrew Jackson, the Volk Field Counter Land Training Center First Sergeant. “It’s very easy not to see the opportunities the WIANG provides when you get that tunnel vision from only working at one base.”
“Getting to meet people from different squadrons I work with makes working more personable and enjoyable,” said Airman 1st Class Andrew Schwedrsky, an airfield management journeyman at Volk Field.
Previous participants in the program highly recommend it as there are a lot of beneficial experiences and opportunities that can’t be found elsewhere.
“We got to ride in a UH-60 Blackhawk Helicopter, work as a team to complete the Leadership Development Course, and watch an A-10 Thunderbolt II get refueled during an orientation flight in a KC-135 from the 128th,” said Airman Tiana Buchanan, a force support specialist at the 115th. “I think it was a good experience and I would recommend this program to all junior enlisted.”