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Air Force Academy cadets come to call

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Nine cadets from the Air Force Academy arrived at Patrick AFB and Cape Canaveral AFS June 25 as part of Operation Air Force. 

The cadets are serving in various organizations at the Cape and Patrick, such as the 45th Civil Engineer Squadron, 1st Space Launch Squadron and 1st Range Operations Squadron. 

First Lieutenant Ashley Maher, 1st ROPS, said there are three programs within OAF based on the class year the cadets are in. 

There are two 1st class cadets in the group, slated to graduate the Academy in May 2008. They are already classified as space and missile officers, and were specifically sent to an Air Force Space Command base to learn more about their chosen career field. 

The 2nd class cadet program focuses on the cadets shadowing company grade officers in different career fields to give them a better idea of what job might interest them. Finally, the 3rd class cadet program focuses on learning about what enlisted forces do in the Air Force. 

In their first week, the cadets worked at base facilities like the fire station and received a tour of Cape Canaveral AFS. In their second week, the cadets will be on console at the Cape to observe a dress rehearsal for the Delta II DAWN launch. On the actual day of the launch they will be at Port Canaveral, passing out fliers to boaters to inform them of the launch and the Launch Hazard Area. 

The cadets will also get to fly with the 920th Rescue Wing. "Many of the cadets want to fly. This gives them an opportunity to observe a mission," said Lieutenant Maher, who said she believes the time the cadets spend here will serve them well in their Air Force career. 

"Operation Air Force gives them the opportunity to experience an operational base," she said. "The knowledge they gain here will give them a better perspective of the Air Force."