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Future leaders run with Wolf Pack

U.S. Air Force Col. David Shoemaker, 8th Fighter Wing commander, poses with U.S. Air Force Academy cadets at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2017. The visit was part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force career immersion program. During the course of approximately two weeks between their sophomore and junior years, cadets from the Academy visit bases around the Air Force to develop their knowledge of potential jobs they can apply for and the service writ large. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Col. David Shoemaker, 8th Fighter Wing commander, poses with U.S. Air Force Academy cadets at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 12, 2017. The visit was part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force career immersion program. During the course of approximately two weeks between their sophomore and junior years, cadets from the Academy visit bases around the Air Force to develop their knowledge of potential jobs they can apply for and the service writ large. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Ryan Ramseyer tries on an explosive ordnance disposal suit at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 11, 2017. The visit allows cadets to travel different bases to learn about different careers and missions on the officer and enlisted tier and is a part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Ryan Ramseyer tries on an explosive ordnance disposal suit at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 11, 2017. The visit allows cadets to travel different bases to learn about different careers and missions on the officer and enlisted tier and is a part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force program. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Madison Tung sprays a fire hose during a fire training challenge at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 11, 2017. The visit was part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force program which allows cadets to travel different bases to learn about different careers and missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Madison Tung sprays a fire hose during a fire training challenge at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 11, 2017. The visit was part of the Air Force Academy’s Operation Air Force program which allows cadets to travel different bases to learn about different careers and missions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Madison Tung climbs out of an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 11, 2017. While visiting various bases through the Operation Air Force program, juniors from the Air Force Academy learn about different career fields by shadowing officer and enlisted Airmen and learn what specific operational base missions look like. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

U.S. Air Force Academy Cadet 2nd Class Madison Tung climbs out of an F-16 Fighting Falcon at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, July 11, 2017. While visiting various bases through the Operation Air Force program, juniors from the Air Force Academy learn about different career fields by shadowing officer and enlisted Airmen and learn what specific operational base missions look like. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Michael Hunsaker/Released)

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Six U.S. Air Force Academy cadets traveled to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, as part of the Operation Air Force program from June 29 to July 12, 2017.

Operation Air Force allows cadets to receive a firsthand look at the daily tasks of Airmen who make the mission happen on an operational base as they begin their Air Force journey.

“Airmen here are working non-stop,” said Cadet 2nd Class Nick Hurley. “There’s no room to rest or get complacent, so it’s good to see that high tempo and motivation that the average Airman has. This place is tough especially since it’s an unaccompanied tour. It’s unique and thus makes it a great place to learn.”

During the immersion program, cadets had the opportunity to meet and interact with Airmen to learn about different Air Force specialties, in preparation to follow their own career path after graduation.

“It’s a hands-on job fair,” said Cadet 2nd Class Madison Tung. “We’re just out here learning about the Air Force.”

Along the way they had opportunities to shadow different career fields including F-16 Fighting Falcon (Viper) pilots, explosive ordinance disposal, maintenance, firefighters, security forces and many others, which support the wing’s “Defend the Base”, “Accept Follow-on Forces” and “Take the Fight North” missions.

“Seeing the mission here in action is awesome,” said Hurley. “It gives me an appreciation [to see] enlisted Airmen as well as officers getting things done to best of their ability. It’s a valuable [perspective] to have, especially when the majority of us are going to be out here.”

Throughout their trip, cadets learned valuable lessons to take back and pass along to their peers.

“Everyone is going to make mistakes, and as fresh second lieutenants graduating from the Air Force Academy, we are certainly going to make our fair share,” said Hurley. “Being able to admit that, ask for help and go to some of the junior airmen that have been doing the job [is important]”

After her 14 day Air Force “Ops” immersion, Tung said the Airmen of Kunsan influenced her outlook regarding the big picture and gave her something to look forward to after graduation.

“The biggest take away for me was getting motivation from this for the next two years [in school] and [developing] a long term career plan,” said Tung. Through Operation Air Force, cadets get an opportunity to experience the real-world mission, which allows them a chance to broaden their leadership perspective and gain an understanding of future expectations.