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Airpower Present and Future: Arizona Wing Cadets Visit 309th Fighter Squadron at Luke AFB

by Cadet Capt. Henry Meyers, CAP, Arizona Wing

PHOENIX – Few people get the opportunity to see what it is like to have their dream job, and even fewer get to see it up close and personal while guided by someone who has made that dream a reality. This is the once-in-a-lifetime chance four cadets from Deer Valley Composite Squadron in Phoenix had when they visited Luke Air Force Base on August 16, 2021.

Cadet Maj. Brenden Miller, Cadet Capt. Henry Meyers, Cadet 1st Lt. Julian Orrs-Wright, and Cadet Chief Master Sgt. Liam Arnold were chosen to spend a day learning and touring Luke Air Force Base with Maj. Houston Pye, an F-16 instructor pilot with the 309th Fighter Squadron.

A former CAP cadet himself, and current member of the Arizona Wing’s 388th Composite Squadron in Glendale, Arizona, Pye was looking for a way to give back to the program and Deer Valley Squadron was more than willing to jump on the opportunity. “We really want to make a good impression,” said 1st Lt. Frank Arvizu, the senior member supervising the activity, when briefing the cadets chosen to attend.

After the trip, Miller said, “We knew how great of an opportunity this was so we really wanted to represent CAP well and learn as much as we could. After all, it’s not every day a fighter pilot offers to show you what your dream job is like.”

Over the course of the visit, the cadets got to see and experience everything from how the pilots’ gear is maintained by the maintenance crew, to guided time in the flight simulators used by the pilots on base, to an up-close walkaround of a real F-16 fighter, not to mention the chance to ask as many questions as they could think of. Other events included exploring the air traffic control tower and the radar control room.

Most of the cadets attending aspire to become Air Force pilots. Miller, a Cadet Wings graduate and cadet commander at the squadron, said, “It was incredible to see the base and talk to Maj. Pye. I want to be a fighter pilot too, someday, and this just makes me want it even more!”

Since the day of the event, Pye has kept in contact with the squadron and future trips are already being planned, so that even more cadets can experience this opportunity. Pye said he wants to continue to evolve the experience, adding more with each group of cadets, to offer the most that he can

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