Pilots meet preschoolers

Haylee Yates tries on a pilot’s helmet with the help of Senior Airman Dennis Hadrick, 388th Operations Support Squadron, on Dec. 10 at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College in Ogden.
By Mitch Shaw
Standard-Examiner staff
December 13, 2012

OGDEN -- A group of preschool kids got an early lesson in flight Dec. 10 from a group of professionals who know the subject best.

Students at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College preschool were treated to a hands-on demonstration about all things flying from a Hill Air Force Base fighter pilot and a few life-support technicians.

Captain and pilot Walt Ehman, Master Sgt. Ricky Harmon, Senior Airman Dennis Hadrick and Airman 1st Class Alyssa Rawls -- all assigned to the base's 388th Fighter Wing -- fielded questions from the students and showed them all of the gear a pilot needs to fly.

The students, ranging in age from 3 to 5, asked the Airmen an array of questions from "Where do you park your plane?" to "Do you ever fly over our school?" and "Why do you wear costumes?"

Ehman said the Hill group volunteered for the demonstration after an email about the event circulated around the base.

"These kids asked some pretty good questions," he said. "Our goal today was to just kind of introduce them to what we do and give them a little bit of awareness about Hill Air Force Base."

A big hit among the students was a pair of pilot's night vision goggles. The Hill group turned out the lights at the school and passed the goggles around for all the students to look through.

"You guys have got to be careful with these," Harmon said when he took the goggles out of the case. "Because they cost more than your mom and dad's car."

The demonstration was arranged by the federally funded Head Start Program, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services initiative that provides comprehensive education, health, nutrition and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families.

Shawnell Howard, program manager with the Utah Head Start Program, said unique events like the one Monday with the Airmen help the students see a world they probably never would be able to without the program.

"Our whole goal is to help these children become successful," Howard said.

"So we try to expose them to as many things as possible, so they have a better idea of what's out there for them and what is really possible if they work hard."

kids, preschool