About 40 children and volunteers from the Palmer Home for Children in Columbus, Mississippi, visited Columbus Air Force Base Jan. 4.
The visit, hosted by the 49th Fighter Training Squadron, began with a military working dog demonstration at the kennels on base. Afterward, the visitors continued to the 49th FTS where they all were welcomed by Lt. Col. John Macasek, the 49 FTS commander.
Palmer Home for Children is a Christian non-profit organization providing residential care without charge and an introduction to God through service, to children who have a need for viable placement.
After the welcoming, the visitors split into three groups and explored many aspects of Columbus AFB. All three groups visited the fire department, hopping inside a fire truck, trying on gear worn by firefighters and watching a fire truck utilize its water system. The groups also got up close and personal to a T-38C Talon.
“We want them to have a good time and show that people care,” said Maj. Dennis Simerly, 49th FTS assistant director of operations. “That’s why it’s important to not just visit and see airplanes, we want them to see the other stuff because it’s all one big team and it might spark interest in any of those career fields in the military profession.”
Two groups got the opportunity to fly in a T-38C simulator in the 14th Operations Group and learned about what it takes to maintain an aircraft in the BLAZE hangar.
One of the groups toured the flightline as well as the Air Traffic Control tower, learning about how Columbus AFB operates on a daily basis.
After the groups finished their tours, everyone gathered in the 49th FTS heritage room for a cookout and closing remarks.
Simerly said the tour is a way to give back, show appreciation and let these kids see some of the things on base and some of the things we do.
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