Young Students Learn About Local Air National Guard Base

Maryville Christian School 1st graders from Maryville, Tennessee and their teachers are given a tour of the KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft by Master Sgt. Eric Jones, a Boom Operator with the 151st Air Refueling Squadron at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee.  The students learnd about the refueling capabilities and other specifications of the aircraft.  The students had been studying about community "heroes" and coordinators tied in the base tour to give them a first hand opportunity to meet with the airmen.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kendra M. Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs)

Maryville Christian School 1st graders from Maryville, Tennessee and their teachers are given a tour of the KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft by Master Sgt. Eric Jones, a Boom Operator with the 151st Air Refueling Squadron at McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base, Tennessee. The students learnd about the refueling capabilities and other specifications of the aircraft. The students had been studying about community "heroes" and coordinators tied in the base tour to give them a first hand opportunity to meet with the airmen. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kendra M. Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs)

Tech. Sgt. Jon Crawford, 134 ARW Aircrew Flight Equipment Specialist, smiles as Caden Jones, a Maryville Christian School 1st grader, gives a thumbs up while wearing pilot training gear.  Caden's father, Master Sgt. Eric Jones, is a Boom Operator with the 134th Air Refueling Wing.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kendra M. Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs)

Tech. Sgt. Jon Crawford, 134 ARW Aircrew Flight Equipment Specialist, smiles as Caden Jones, a Maryville Christian School 1st grader, gives a thumbs up while wearing pilot training gear. Caden's father, Master Sgt. Eric Jones, is a Boom Operator with the 134th Air Refueling Wing. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Kendra M. Owenby, 134 ARW Public Affairs)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. --
McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base was recently visited by a young group of eager "troops" who wanted to see first-hand the life of an Air Guardsman. Members of Ms. Tracy Moreno's and Ms. Wendy Coppedge's 1st grade class at Maryville Christian School recently visited the home of the 134th Air Refueling Wing and the 151st Air Refueling Squadron on Oct 22.

The students had recently been studying about community helpers and the tour was an addition to their studies to better help them understand the important part that the military base plays in the local community as well as around the world.
 
 
"The purpose of the trip was to observe, first hand, the helpers who keep our country free and protect us" stated Maryville Christian School Principal Robin Adams.

During their tour the children were able to interact with Tech. Sgt. Jon Crawford, Aircrew Flight Equipment Specialist, and see up close and personal items as survival flotation devices, survival rations. They were also able to take turns wearing one of the aircrew member's helmets.

"It's not your mother or father who deploys across the world in support of the mission to keep this great nation free who has the toughest job, it's you - the children who have the toughest job - having to carry on back home and wait patiently for their return." said Tech. Sgt. Crawford.

Master Sgt. Eric Jones, 151st Air Refueling Squadron Boom Operator asked "Are you guys ready to go out and see the aircraft?" The students answered in unison a big excited "Yeah!" The students toured one of the refueling unit's KC-135R Stratotankers, taking turns sitting in the pilot seats and pretending to take the controls. They climbed down into the "boom pod" where the refueling process takes place for a better view of the world of a boom operator.

Sgt. Jones' son Caden is a member of the 1st grade class and had a rare opportunity to spend time in the boom pod with his father where he works when he's away on missions. The children were excited to learn about the unit's refueling mission and how the airmen travel around the world doing their duties.

The students were also able to tour the 134th Fire Station. They hurried to see the trucks and equipment that the fire fighters use for their missions. They were able to see up close the gear that the airmen wear for protection from the intense heat of a structure or vehicle fire.

The visit to McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base provided an opportunity for the young visitors and their hosts to make stronger community connections. The students left with a better understanding of what the Air National Guard and 134th Air Refueling Wing's mission is and the impact that it has on their community. The National Guard airmen got the opportunity to give back to their local community by sharing their mission with the future leaders of tomorrow.