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Student Flight Team Building on Mt. Major

Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Student Flight and the 157th ARW recruiting team, are reenlisted ontop of Mount Major in Alton, N.H. June 4, 2017. Captain Joseph A. Smith III reenlisted members ontop of the mountain to mark the beginning of a newly improved student flight program. (United States Air National Guard Photo By Victoria Nelson)

Members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing Student Flight and the 157th ARW recruiting team, are reenlisted ontop of Mount Major in Alton, N.H. June 4, 2017. Captain Joseph A. Smith III reenlisted members ontop of the mountain to mark the beginning of a newly improved student flight program. (United States Air National Guard Photo By Victoria Nelson)

Pease Air National Guard Base, N.H. -- Airmen and trainees from the 157th Student Flight participated in a team-building experience June 4, 2017, in Alton, NH.

The members of the student flight, along with the members of the 157th Air Refueling Wing recruiting team, hiked 1,785 feet to the summit of Mount Major as a physical fitness team-building exercise.
 
Team-building events, such as these, give the trainees a foundation of teamwork and Wingmanship to bring back to their unit, when they graduate Basic Military Training.
 
“I got the idea from security forces,” said Captain Joseph A. Smith III, the 157th Mission Support Group public information officer working with student flight. “I thought it would be good for [the students] to work together with that same kind of cohesion as other units on base,”
  
Physically demanding team building exercises provide physical health benefits along with forming a cohesive team.
 
“When I went down to Lackland to see the basic training program, the one thing most trainees needed improvement on was physical fitness,” said Smith. “[The students] really need this kind of experience.”

On the hike, the students discovered a team is only as fast as its slowest member. On both sides of the spectrum the students learn to challenge their leadership skills and physical ability.

“This is exponentially better than being inside on a nice Sunday,” said Dylan Flint, a trainee in the student flight program. “And it’s great exercise.”

The Student Flight cadre are continually improving the student flight program. Their goal is to make the program worthwhile for the trainees.
 
“We have implemented an 8 eight week training plan that mirrors basic training,” said Smith.
 
He added, the cadre starting using 341’s, a paper discrepancy form used in BMT, to better prepare the students for basic training. The students also receive disciplinary paperwork to sign if they arrive late or do not follow instruction from the cadre.
 
In addition, the NCOs have conducted mock Physical Training Tests each month as well as an open ranks inspection and enforcement of a professional dress code.
 
The students learn and memorize rank structure, core values, the Air Force song and the Airman’s Creed. They also study and participate in their specific chain of command.
 
“At BMT the military training leaders loved having members come in from our guard unit because they were prepared,” said Smith. “Our students are often element leaders and honor graduates at BMT. We give them a chain of command to instill those customs and courtesies and prepare them for those leadership roles in basic training and in their career.”
  
Their hike up Mount Major exemplified the transition of the 157th student flight. The cadre have worked to implement the qualities of Wingmanship and readiness the Air Force instills in its members into the student flight program.

“This is a fantastic group of people who will become the heart and soul of our unit,” said Master Sgt. Ronald Letch, the Senior NCO of the student flight program. “It was a fantastic day spent with the future of our wing and a great way to begin the future of the 157th student flight.”
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