First-class tour for first-grade students

City View Elementary first-grade student Brayden Voigt  tries his hand at “flying” an F-15 Eagle May 5  during a trip to the 364th Training Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cheryl Simon).

City View Elementary first-grade student Brayden Voigt tries his hand at “flying” an F-15 Eagle May 5 during a trip to the 364th Training Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Cheryl Simon).

SHEPPARD AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Nearly 100 first-grade students from City View Elementary School got a taste of Sheppard's daily routine May 5 with a tour of the base fire department and training facilities at the 782nd Training Group. 

The visit was part of the Partners-In-Education initiative the unit and its personnel participate in. 

First-grade teacher Sherry Patterson told Tech. Sgt. Ron Southern, an aircraft electrical and environmental systems instructor supervisor at the 364th Training Squadron, the visit to the base was an educational and fun way for students to learn about the Air Force and Sheppard. 

"The base is part of our town and most of these children have never been on base," she said. 

Sergeant Southern lifted each student into an F-15 cockpit to get an up-close and personal look at the Air Force's air superiority fighter. 

City View students also visited the base fire department, including the department's Smoke House, a favorite among children. 

"We got to crawl under the smoke at the Smoke House and they sprayed us with water," said 8-year-old Nick DeLeon. "That was fun." 

For 7-year-old Caitlin Coe, naming her favorite part of the tour was a tough choice.
"I like Sparky the Fire Dog and the really big airplanes," she said. 

The visit to the base was the first for both first graders, but one already has aspirations for his next visit. 

"Next time, I want to practice shooting water at the fire house and I want to fly the red, white and blue jet," Nick said.