Civil Air Patrol and U.S. Naval Sea Cadets get an inside look at interservice partnerships on Edwards AFB March 21, 2023

Civil Air Patrol and United States Naval Sea Cadets from California receive an up close and personal look at interservice flight operations during a tour of Edwards Air Force Base hosted by the Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center (AFOTEC) Detachment 5, March 17.

"As the military struggles with meeting out recruiting goals, we have an obligation to assist," Col. Keith J. Butler, Commander of Detachment 5, AFOTEC explained. "Opening the minds of Civil Air Patrol and Naval Sea Cadets to what the military life can offer is one way of helping address the shortfall by creating interest in service to country. Enabling opportunities for youth programs and generating their interest in the various missions at Edwards AFB fosters a growing connection between off-base community programs and the installation."

The Edwards AFB tour included base housing, AFOTEC Det. 5 headquarters, the Air Force Flight Test Museum, the Benefield Anechoic Facility and an up close and personal look at a Navy VX-9 F-35C. The F-35 visit highlighted how the Air Force and Navy work shoulder-to-shoulder for the flight test mission.

"Like many cadets in Civil Air Patrol and Naval Sea Cadets, one of my favorite parts of the program is experiencing and learning about the military and it's lifestyles," David Butler, Civil Air Patrol cadet said. "Getting to tour Edwards AFB gave us new insight about unique parts of the Air Force and Navy; broadening our perspectives of the STEM world in the military."

For AFOTEC Det. 5, building strong community relations between the military and its potential future leaders is crucial for the growth and success of the U.S. Air Force.

"By fostering positive relationships with local communities, we can create a supportive and collaborative environment that empowers the next generation of leaders and show our military members and partners the impact their contributions have," Tech. Sgt. Kyle M. Hernandez, Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge, AFOTEC Det. 5 explained. "Investing in our youth is an investment in our military communities and collective future."