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Academy cadets tour wing of choice

Annika Edgington, a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet from Colorado Springs, Colo., explores the cockpit of B-29 Stratofortress, Aug. 1, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. The cadets visited McConnell AFB, Kan., from July 18 - August 3, as part of Operation Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

Annika Edgington, a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet from Colorado Springs, Colo., explores the cockpit of B-29 Stratofortress, Aug. 1, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. The cadets visited McConnell AFB, Kan., from July 18 - August 3, as part of Operation Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo., tour a B-29 Stratofortress, Aug. 1, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. The cadets visited McConnell AFB, Kan., and various local institutions as part of Operation Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo., tour a B-29 Stratofortress, Aug. 1, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. The cadets visited McConnell AFB, Kan., and various local institutions as part of Operation Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo., stand inside the belly of a B-29 Stratofortress as they learn about the aircraft, Aug. 1, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. The cadets heading into their junior year participate in Operation Air Force as part of a requirement to shadow officers, enlisted and civilians. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo., stand inside the belly of a B-29 Stratofortress as they learn about the aircraft, Aug. 1, 2016, in Wichita, Kan. The cadets heading into their junior year participate in Operation Air Force as part of a requirement to shadow officers, enlisted and civilians. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Jenna K. Caldwell)

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo., tour the National Institute of Aviation Research Aug. 1, 2016, at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan. The cadets toured the aircraft testing facility to learn about safety equipment. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Air Force Academy cadets from Colorado Springs, Colo., tour the National Institute of Aviation Research Aug. 1, 2016, at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan. The cadets toured the aircraft testing facility to learn about safety equipment. (Courtesy photo)

Derek McGuckin, a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet from Colorado Springs, Colo., stands inside a virtual aircraft, Aug. 1, 2016, at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan. The cadets toured the 3-D aircraft modeling lab at the National Institute of Aviation Research to learn about aircraft safety. (Courtesy photo)

Derek McGuckin, a U.S. Air Force Academy cadet from Colorado Springs, Colo., stands inside a virtual aircraft, Aug. 1, 2016, at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kan. The cadets toured the 3-D aircraft modeling lab at the National Institute of Aviation Research to learn about aircraft safety. (Courtesy photo)

MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Future Air Force leaders from the U.S. Air Force Academy visited here, July 18 - August 3, as part of Operation Air Force, to broaden their knowledge.

The two-week long program is a summer initiative takes cadets out of the training environment and provides a view of life in the operational Air Force.

“[Cadets] see the whole base and get as familiar as they can with as many jobs as possible,” said Maj. Mark Wagner, 22nd Contracting Squadron commander and base program manager. “Informed cadets can make good decisions on how to best use their skills when they come on active duty.”

Twenty cadets going into their junior year participated in this program as part of their requirement to shadow officers, enlisted and civilians, Wagner said.

The cadets visited various organizations on base, met with McConnell Airmen and learned about their job specific missions.

“It’s been really cool, there is a lot to do here, and the KC-135 [Stratotanker] mission is really interesting,” said Zac Drury, cadet in-charge. “It’s nice to see how people interact with each other in the operational Air Force and how all the jobs come together to work toward one mission.”

During their stay on base, the cadets also learned about the surrounding city of Wichita, Kansas, by visiting aircraft institutions such as Wichita State University, Boeing and Spirit Aerospace facilities.

“My goal for the program was to allow the cadets to have the best experience possible while at McConnell,” said Wagner. “We had dozens of volunteers, and I am thankful for all of them.”