KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 8th Fighter Wing hosted more than 20 school-age children from around the local area during a tour of Kunsan Air Base Aug. 2.
For many of the children, the tour was a unique opportunity to visit and interact with American Airmen for the first time.
“Having the kids here is a great opportunity to show them what we do and how committed we are to ensuring their safety,” said Col. Tad Clark, 8th Fighter Wing commander. “They have a very bright future ahead of them.”
Clark and Chief Master Sgt. Steve Cenov, 8th FW command chief, welcomed the children to the Wolf Pack and provided them with a short introduction before beginning their tour at the 8th Civil Engineer Squadron fire station.
The 8th CES firefighters led a hands-on demonstration for the children on how the water cannon extinguishes aircraft fires and also provided an opportunity to operate the hose with Airmen.
“Making a good, lasting impression on the kids is what we try to do,” said Senior Airman Jacob Levee, 8th CES firefighter. “Letting them try on the firefighter suits and use the fire hose, they loved all of it and had a great time. Getting hands-on experience might want to make them become firefighters in the future, and maybe even end up working here at Kunsan with us.”
The tour concluded with the children getting up close with an F-16 Fighting Falcon, the same aircraft they can see flying in Gunsan skies almost every day. Airmen from the 8th Maintenance Group highlighted some of the fighter’s features including its maneuverability, range and speed and also demonstrated how to load the aircraft.
“Being able to share our mission with local schoolchildren was an amazing experience,” said Senior Airman Andrew Vance, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron member. “We not only were able to talk about our job, but also shared what makes Kunsan and the Wolf Pack so important.”
While the children were sent off with plenty of gifts and goodies to remind them of their visit, they also left an impression with the Airmen. For the members of the 8th FW, seeing why they are here and whose future they are defending was an eye-opening experience and is something they will not forget.