Airmen and Guardians visit Redwood Middle School

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Alexis Pentzer
  • 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs

Airmen and Guardians from Beale AFB and Travis AFB traveled to Redwood Middle School in Napa, Calif., to participate in a mentorship panel on Jan. 25.


The panel members were asked questions by the students to help build trust in the Air and Space Forces as a way to inspire the next generation of Airmen and Guardians.


Question 1: What was the process of joining the military like?


“There’s a test called the ASVAB,” said Tech. Sgt. Wilfredo Western-Ortiz, 364th Recruiting Squadron recruiter. “It all comes down to what you can qualify for with your test scores. It's a mix of those scores and a medical examination that combines together and it gives you your job listing. From there, you get with your recruiter, your parents and find which job you are interested in.”


Western-Ortiz went on to explain more of the enlistment process and helped the children better understand how joining the military works. While joining the military might seem complicated in the beginning, recruiters specialize in facilitating the process.


Question 2: What made you pick the Air Force/Space Force?


“I came in as Air Force, and a couple months into it, I had the opportunity to change career paths,” said Specialist 4 Jace Williams, 7th Space Warning Squadron space system operator. “I had my dream sheet, which is a wish list of jobs you want to do, and space and operations was on there and I told my regular recruiter. A couple days later he said he had something in the Space Force so I took it.”


Having experience in both the Air Force and Space Force, Williams provided a unique perspective on his choices.  Many have the opportunity to not only change career paths in the military, but also switch branches if they choose.


Question 3: What is the difference between enlisted members and officers?


“Being an enlisted member is like if you want to jump feet first into the military,” said 2nd Lieutenant Rachael Valera, 7th Space Warning Squadron intelligence flight commander. “We also consider our enlisted members our experts in their career fields. Whatever they do, they know everything about it. Officers are more like management.”


As an officer, Valera manages the enlisted members in her unit and makes it possible for them to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible. Enlisted members are the subject matter experts of their career fields and are the ones who carry out the job on a daily basis.


The military is full of opportunities and offers jobs ranging from the technical to the managerial. The Airmen and Guardians that visited the school were able to educate students on these opportunities and in turn inspire the minds of our possible future Airmen and Guardians.