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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | March 29, 2024

Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest

By Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa 137th Special Operations Wing

OKLAHOMA CITY - Students, educators and community leaders from across the state attended the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational on March 28, 2024, at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma.

The invitational allowed for attendees to diversify their understanding of what opportunities the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer and engage with Guardsmen who can provide a different perspective into the 137th SOW mission.

“This event gives us an opportunity to let the community really see what we do and who we are,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Kasey Phipps, 137th SOW Recruiting Flight Chief. “We only get to talk about so much in the short time we’re visiting schools and participating in outside events as recruiters, so hosting an event on base that allows our Airmen to tell their stories and show off their experience is invaluable. We want our communities to know that we’re so much more than the benefits they read about in our pamphlets or see on TV.”

An attendee listens intently as an MC-12W pilot with the 185th Special Operations Squadron, Oklahoma Air National Guard, explains the capabilities of the aircraft during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the OKANG has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields.
SLIDESHOW | images | Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest An attendee listens intently as an MC-12W pilot with the 185th Special Operations Squadron, Oklahoma Air National Guard, explains the capabilities of the aircraft during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the OKANG has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa)
Oklahoma high school students simulate a litter carry during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields.
SLIDESHOW | images | Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest Oklahoma high school students simulate a litter carry during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck)
Oklahoma high school students are shown a weapon system during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields.
SLIDESHOW | images | Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest Oklahoma high school students are shown a weapon system during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck)
A high school student is shown an Oklahoma National Guard military occupational specialty simulator during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields.
SLIDESHOW | images | Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest A high school student is shown an Oklahoma National Guard military occupational specialty simulator during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck)
An attendee smiles as they navigate the inside of an Oklahoma National Guard UH-60M Blackhawk during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields.
SLIDESHOW | images | Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest An attendee smiles as they navigate the inside of an Oklahoma National Guard UH-60M Blackhawk during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa)
A firefighter with the 137th Special Operations Wing Fire and Emergency Services unit helps a young attendee don bunker gear during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields.
SLIDESHOW | images | Students and community leaders attend 137th SOW’s Student Flight Fest A firefighter with the 137th Special Operations Wing Fire and Emergency Services unit helps a young attendee don bunker gear during the 137th Special Operations Wing 2024 Student Flight Fest Invitational event held at Will Rogers Air National Guard Base, Oklahoma, March 28, 2024. The invitational allowed for students, educators and other visitors from across the state to broaden their understanding of what the Oklahoma Air National Guard has to offer through aircraft displays, interactive stations, and discussions with Airmen and Soldiers from diverse career fields. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Erika Chapa)

Attendees didn’t just hear about different career fields in the Air National Guard, but they actively interacted with the equipment the 137th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron uses, climbed inside various civilian and military aircraft, experimented with some of the 137th SOW Fire and Emergency Services’ gear and so much more. Moreover, this event empowered 137th SOW Airmen to showcase their expertise and how they work as a team.

“A lot of times, you see students leave high school and, unless they are joining another team, they lose that team concept,” expressed U.S. Air Force Col. Shelby Dreyer, 137th SOW Deputy Commander. “What I like to see is for them to come here with their friends and see that we have a team here that they can build on, and they can grow from while having all of this support.” 

By continuing to foster a stronger community and uplifting its youth through events like this one, Oklahoma Guardsmen will continue to uphold the Oklahoma Standard and inspire future Airmen.

Video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck
Future of drone defense takes flight at inaugural Oklahoma National Guard Counter-UAS Symposium
Oklahoma National Guard
March 12, 2024 | 2:33
Future of drone defense takes flight at inaugural Oklahoma National Guard Counter-UAS Symposium at Oklahoma State University’s Hamm Institute for American Energy in Oklahoma City, March 12-13, 2024. The symposium addressed the evolving landscape of warfare and security challenges posed by UAS technology, including the integration of artificial intelligence, countering the UAS threat and countless other emerging advancements. (Oklahoma National Guard video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck

CG: Information:
Jamey Jacob, Ph.D., P.E.
Director, Oklahoma Aerospace Institute for Research & Education
(00:17-00:24)
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