Every once in a while we get to take a break from our usual Friday training sessions in ROTC and take a trip somewhere cool. We’ve gone white-water rafting, visited a shooting range, and competed in a sports tournament in San Diego. This past weekend, we got to visit Nellis Air Force Base, which is conveniently known as ‘Home of the Fighter Pilots’—exactly what I want to be! We left Thursday evening and drove up in three big vans (which stopped at In-N-Out of course) and arrived around midnight. We checked in to the really nice base lodging, and passed out quickly to be ready for our 5:30 AM wakeup.

The first thing we got to see on Friday was a ‘loading competition’ between all the different fighter planes. Whoever could get their plane checked out and ready for takeoff the fastest won. It was awesome to see all the different planes and get pictures with them!

Next, we headed to the flight line to check out more aircrews in action. The best part was watching the world-famous Thunderbirds take off and do a few formations. A maintenance worker gave us a tour of the Thunderbirds museum, and told us a brief history about how they became the elite demonstration team that they are today. The most beneficial part was definitely the interaction we got with all of the active-duty officers. It was great to be able to ask questions to people who were in the career field I hope to join. The pilots were very informative and helpful, and really love their jobs. It got me super excited for what I might be able to do!

Check out some pictures from our trip:


Giant American flag in the F-22 hangar


Thunderbird pilot shaking the hands of the maintenance crew before their flight


Thunderbirds from the 1960’s!


Hanging out in the helicopter


Thunderbird F-16


Posing with an F-16