Airmen in your community: A pilot’s shadow

2014-08-04T09:00:00Z 2014-08-07T09:05:22Z Airmen in your community: A pilot’s shadowAirman 1st Class Cheyenne Morigeau 355 Fighter Wing Public Affairs Arizona Daily Star

A Junior Reserved Officers' Training Corps student from Cienega High School in Vail, Ariz., came to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., to shadow pilots for a senior exit project.

Kennis Pannell, Navy JROTC Seaman Cadet, undergoing the program offered by her school, was given an assignment by her JROTC commander to shadow the career field of her choice and write an essay on a critical event involving that field for her senior exit project.

After narrowing her options down to either a protocol officer or a pilot, Pannell made her decision.

"I shadowed the pilots because becoming a pilot for the Air Force is a career I have always found interest in," Pannell said. "Being able to see what they do on a day to day basis was an opportunity I could not pass up."

Pannell had the chance to shadow Capt. Brandon Liabenow, 354th Fighter Squadron A-10 pilot. She was given a tour of the squadron, learned the duties of a Thunderbolt pilot, tried on the flight equipment and helped the crew chiefs launch a jet.

"She recieved a rare, in-depth look into the daily operations of an operational A-10C fighter squadron," said Liabenow. "She was able to see a side of A-10 that few civilians ever will. "In order to broaden Pannell's piloting horizons, Liabenow made arrangements for her to shadow Capt. Nelson Willingham, 79th Rescue Squadron HC-130J pilot.

Willingham took her into the HC-130J simulator, showed her the inside of an actual Combat King and gave her a tour of the 79th RQS.

"It is always great to help out a young and motivated student with big aspirations," said Willingham. "I remember when I was her age and did not know where to begin. I knew that I loved to fly and always wanted to join the Air Force, but I certainly could have used a little direction. "

Pannell would like to go to the Air Force Academy where she would commission and hopefully become a pilot.

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About this blog

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, known as “D-M” to our neighbors, is home to the 355th Fighter Wing, the premier air combat base for all Air Force A-10 C fighter aircraft training. Davis-Monthan is also home to other vital Department of Defense units including 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern), 55th Electronic Combat Group, 563rd Rescue Group and the 309th Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Group, nicknamed “The Boneyard.”

Davis-Monthan is located within the city limits of Tucson, Ariz., and has been an integral part of the Tucson community since its dedication in 1927. In fiscal year 2012, Davis-Monthan circulated approximately $1.1 billion ($1.6 billion including retirees) into the local community and created 4,687 jobs in Tucson. The more than 10,800 personnel, who are assigned and employed at Davis-Monthan, live, work and educate their children in the Tucson metropolitan area. Nearly 75 percent of our 7,537 military service members live off base.

D-M Airmen are proud to serve their country, deploying to nearly every corner of the globe. At any given time 500 or more are deployed in support of worldwide operations. D-M Airmen are also proud to call Tucson home. The valuable relationship with the Tucson community and Southern Arizona supporters helps us achieve our missions.

Check out D-M’s economic impact.

Watch our Mission video.

Read more on our website and our Facebook page.

If you have suggestions, comments or questions about this blog, e-mail: 355WGPA@DM.AF.MIL

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