Luke Hosts West Valley JROTC Cadets for Career Expo

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Elias Carrero
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The 56th Fighter Wing hosted 137 cadets for a Junior ROTC Career Expo, Sept. 29, 2023, at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona.

Cadets from nine schools across Phoenix’s West Valley attended the event aimed at providing them with insight into Luke’s training mission along with an understanding of daily life in the Air Force.

“This opens the doors for the students to see what is available to them,” said retired Master Sgt Mike Badey, Sandra Day O’Connor High School Air Force JROTC instructor. “As a JROTC instructor I can only share my personal job experience with them. The expo gives them an opportunity to see real jobs that the Air Force does that they didn’t even know existed.  It stirs up their curiosity and builds interest in service.”

At the expo, personnel from over 20 Air Force career fields operated booths where they were able to answer cadet’s questions. Questions ranged from what their day-to-day job entailed to insights on how being a service member affected one’s personal life.

“Seeing high school students expressing interest in my career field was refreshing to see. Many were surprised to see the full scope of what my career field had to offer,” said Capt. Stephen Hatton, 56th Fighter Wing Judge Advocate chief of legal assistance. “They didn’t realize JAG's did more than just criminal justice. Everyone thinks being a pilot is cool but after a quick conversation about lawful targets and advising commanders many realized how exciting JAG can be.”

In addition, throughout the three-hour expo the cadets were able to see demonstrations by Luke’s Military Working Dog handlers, Explosive Ordnance Disposal team, and Spark Cell team.

“This was a great opportunity to show people what we do beyond what is seen on television,” said Tech. Sgt. James Vossah, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal noncommissioned officer in-charge of EOD operations. “The job is more than IED's and this gave us the opportunity to show the lesser-known parts of our job such as humanitarian missions, partnering with law enforcement, and containment of weapons of mass destruction.”

The U.S. military is an all-volunteer force that serves to protect our security and way of life. Events like the JROTC Career Expo provides information to those with an interest in joining the ranks of America’s Armed Forces to choose the branch of service and career field that best suits them, and helps the next generation of American citizens see the people behind the uniform and gather insight into what it truly means to serve.