Local youths become honorary Juvat pilots
KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Junior and high school students from eight different institutions became honorary pilots at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea Oct. 24, 2012.
An annual event, the pilot for a day program allowed Korean students a closer look at the base's flying mission and the 80th Fighter Squadron.
Hosted by the 80th FS "Juvats," the youth first visited the air traffic control tower to see how it operates. They then went to the F-16 Fighting Falcon simulators to experience flying and landing jets.
"Being able to sit in and fly the F-16 was awesome," said Song DaBin, Jeonbuk foreign language high school 11th grade student, when asked what her favorite part of the tour was.
At their next stop, a "SERE" specialist explained aircraft egress and survival, evasion, resistance and escape procedures. While hanging from a harness, students were able to apply their SERE training in a virtual reality parachute simulator.
Airmen at the 80th FS life support allowed the group to try on pilot gear before heading to the flight line to view the jets.
At one of the hardened aircraft shelters, the students were given a tour of the jet before taking a group photo with 80th FS pilots.
Col. John Pearse and Lt. Col. Leslie Hauck III, 80th FS commander, dropped by to present each honorary Juvat pilot a certificate and patch, before taking off for their training flight.
For 1st Lt. Josh Arnall, 80th FS pilot, being able to interact with the students and to learn more about their daily lives and the community were the benefits of the tour.
"It works out great on both ends," Arnall said. "We brought them on base to show them not just the F-16 Fighting Falcons flown over their towns, but a lot of them enjoyed seeing what and how we do it."
Some even expressed military interest.
"One of my dreams is to become a (Republic of Korea) fighter pilot," Song said. "When I wore the flight suit, it seemed like it may come true someday. It made me happy and proud of myself," she said.