Airmen teach future leaders during BALTOPS 2016

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Erin Babis
  • USAFE Public Affairs

A group of high school students chatted excitedly as they stepped off a bus at Powidz Air Base, PolandJune 9, to tour a U.S. Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker.


Members from the 434th Air Refueling Wing, Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., and the 100th ARW, Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England, took a brief break during Baltic Operations 2016 to teach the students from a military class at Adam Mickiewicz High School Complex, Kleczew, Poland, about the Stratotanker and its capabilities. 

"Working with students and citizens from the local area on events like this is very important because it allows us to show them what we do, and it gives the country a better idea of our mission in Poland," explained 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 NCO in charge of client systems, who helped facilitate the event. "It shows them not only what we do, but how much we care."

The pilots, boom operators and maintainers took the students around, teaching them about the different aspect of their jobs. Though some students spoke more English than others, everyone helped each other to understand one another. The students took turns sitting in the cockpit, climbing down into the boom pod, and exploring the inside and the outside of the aircraft. 

"I really liked it because I've always been interested in aircraft and flying," said Olak Rogowski, a student from Adam Mickiewicz High School Complex. "I was really excited. My favorite part was going into the cockpit of the aircraft and sitting where the first pilot sits."

Rogowski was grateful for the experience and the opportunity, not only to sit in the cockpit, but also for the chance to ask questions of the Airmen who showed his class around. 

This event allowed a younger generation from Poland to interact with U.S. Airmen and see firsthand how the U.S. Air Force operates.

"The younger generations are the future," 52nd Operations Group Detachment 1 NCO in charge of client systems explained of the reason for the event. "Showing the younger kids what we do every day and getting them excited about it helps us. It helps them understand, and they are the future leaders."

While BALTOPS 2016 brought together multiple nations to train together as one military, connecting with a younger generation helped to secure the relationship the U.S. Air Force has cultivated with Poland for years to come.