KINGSLEY FIELD, Ore. --
Sixty-two students from local high schools spent the morning at Kingsley Field seeing firsthand what jobs are available to them in the military, March 15, 2023.
Organized by the 173rd Fighter Wing recruiting team, the Armed Forces Expo showcased career fields from every group on base, as well as the Army National Guard, Navy, and Air Force Special Forces.
Tech. Sgt. Diana Johnson, 173rd FW production recruiter, says events like this are very beneficial. “We have the primary demographic we recruit to right in our territory. The high school students are able to associate our previous recruiting efforts with the amazing jobs, members and F-15 mission.”
She also noted that these events can also clear up any stereotypes or misconceptions the kids have about the military. “They can now see the base, they now know we are not robots or getting yelled at constantly,” she said. “We are able to provide a better picture of the 173rd Fighter Wing and how great it truly is.”
Shops from across the base brought different pieces of equipment and tech for the students to touch and see. This included electronic imaging equipment used to analyze the structure of the aircraft, mockup radar systems, a 20mm gun display, the Security Forces side by side know as a Razor, as well as a static F-15 Eagle. The event concluded with the students being able to head out to the taxi way to watch the F-15 Eagles take off for a training mission.
“It is amazing to see the event finally come into fruition; I loved seeing the excitement in the student’s eyes during the event and of course, during the F-15 take-off,” added Johnson.
Johnson said this event has already generated 40 leads for the recruiting office. “There was lots of talk about joining,” she said. “We will most likely see the enlistments from this event in two months to one year depending on the scenario of the student.”
She also highlights the positive relationships developed while working to coordinate this event with the local high-school counselors. “This event helped build trust with the counselors; they now feel like they can advocate for the Oregon Air National Guard and allow us go in the schools to speak to their students.”
The 173rd Fighter Wing recruiting team’s goal is to host an event like this twice a year. The next Armed Forces Expo is projected to occur in fall of this year.