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Engaging the Future: 412 SFS prepares JROTC cadets for service

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The 412th Security Forces Squadron invited almost 100 Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps cadets from Desert High School to their headquarters Nov. 4 to learn the way of the Defender.  This day was dedicated so that the JROTC cadets could gain as much knowledge as they could about being an Airman and a Defender so they could be fully prepared for future service.

"We need to give them an opportunity to be able to see what its like to be in the military," TSgt. Michael Beck, Visitor Control Center NCOIC, 412th SFS explained.  "If from this if we get a bunch of recruits in the offices the next couple of weeks, that's great.  Maybe one day they can become pilots, Security Forces, fire department, whatever the scenario may be but just give them an opportunity to see what its like."

Air Force military police, otherwise known as Defenders, play a huge role in installation security and mission readiness. The event had the cadets separated into groups so the 412 SFS Defenders could best showcase their various capabilities, answer questions and allow the cadets an opportunity to participate in training exercises. The capabilities included showcasing Security Forces' duty related gear, weapons and armory, and military working dog abilities.

"It's important to understand the realism of what we do," SSgt. Kristian Cormier, Vehicle NCOIC, 412 SFS said. "They need to understand what the gear feels like, how heavy our weapon systems are, understanding what it takes to actually utilize it against an enemy. This is real."

16-year-old Cadet Eden Hewes from Desert High School explained that she didn't necessarily have plans to be in the military until an experience changed her mindset and passion in life.

"Originally, I didn't have a really good reason to be in JROTC," Hewes said. "At school it counts for P.E. credits and I didn't want to do P.E. But the more I did it, the more I realized this is what I want to do with my life and my dream is to be a Thunderbird."

Hewes says she doesn't let obstacles get in the way of pursuing her dream of being a USAF Thunderbirds pilot.

"I know it's really hard since they have height requirements and I am on the short side, but I am trying really hard and training a lot. This is what I want to do when I am older. I want to go into the military. I want to serve my country and make sure everyone has an equal chance at everything," Hewes said.

TSgt. Stephanie Marshall, Combat Arms NCOIC, 412th SFS explained that having the cadets see the weapons and armory up close is an important step for their preparation for future service.

"Weapons are so much a part of today's culture," Marshall said. "It's not this thing where we just see it in the movies now. It's in music videos and video games. So they know what these weapons systems are, but they don't really have that understanding of how real they are. I wish somebody took the time like this to actually show me what these weapons are really capable of so I would have took the time to learn about them early on."

These cadets may then graduate Desert High School and move on to the grueling task of basic training.

"Essentially basic training is meant to break you down to the lowest level," SRA. John Shurelds, Entry Controller, 412 SFS explained. "Everyone gets broken down to the lowest level and then after a week, two weeks, three weeks, they start to build you back up to fit the mold of the Airman."

Even with the tough journey ahead of them, the cadets' drive and passion shines through thanks to the 412th Security Forces' knowledge and preparation.

"If you have the desire to do something with your life, don't give up because someone told you not to do it," Cadet Hewes said. "Keep trying, no matter how hard or how impossible it might seem because everyone has their limits and if you break those limits then you can essentially do anything you want in your life."

If you are interested to learn more about the AF JROTC program you can go to their website.


Edwards provides care, opportunities for children aged six weeks through high school graduation

Edwards provides care, opportunities for childrenaged six weeks through high school graduation

The Child and Youth Program at Edwards AFB provides care and opportunities for kids ages six weeks old through high school graduation. A brief summary of those services follows:

  •                    The Child Development Center cares for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, with a DOD-wide curriculum. The curriculum is focused on learning through play activities supporting social, emotional, physical and intellectual development. Installations across DOD follow the curriculum on the same timeline to allow seamless permanent change-of-station transitions for youth enrolled in care.
  •                    The School Age Center provides before and after-school care and summer camp for children ages 5 to 12. During school breaks, full-day camps are offered. SAC promotes cognitive, social, emotional, cultural, language and physical development through programs that encourage self-confidence, curiosity, self-discipline and resiliency.
  •                    The open recreation program at the Main Youth Center provides a safe space for ages 9 to 12 to attend after school. Programs include Power Hour, STEM, Torch Club, social recreation, youth camps, special events and more.
  •                    The youth sports program provides intro and league opportunities for ages 3 to 12, and promotes inclusiveness, self-discipline, commitment, resiliency and social skills. There are four sports offered annually for ages five to 12: baseball/softball, soccer, flag football and basketball. Smart start programs are available to ages 3 to 5. There are many other sports and camps offered throughout the year.
  •                    The Teen Center is available for ages 13 to 18 during the school year. Programs offered include Military Youth of the Year, Keystone Club, social recreation, STEM activities, college trips, leadership camps and more.
  •                    Youth programs (SAC, open rec and teen) are affiliated with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and 4-H.
  •                    Family Child Care homes – there are currently three FCC homes on the installation. They can provide care for ages two weeks to 12 years. FCC providers are trained by Child and Youth Program training and curriculum specialists and have the flexibility to determine their hours of operation and the ages of youth within their care. The program’s new dedicated manager, Jennifer Stegmann, may be reached at 661-275-7529.

Although CDC enrollment capacity is 317, not all slots are currently filled because of a shortage of childcare workers. School Age Center enrollment capacity is 156. After-school care enrollment is 130. Before-school care enrollment is 75. Summer Camp 2022 was at its capacity and enrollment for Summer Camp 2023 opens April 3.