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Local teachers attend aviation workshop

Lt. Col. Ted Fordyce, 16th Special Operations Squadron director of operations, explains the capabilites of the AC-130H Spectre Gunship to the teachers.

Lt. Col. Ted Fordyce, 16th Special Operations Squadron director of operations, explains the capabilites of the AC-130H Spectre Gunship to the teachers.

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. --  Fifty teachers of all grade levels from Okaloosa, Santa Rosa and Escambia counties spent the day here Saturday learning about aerospace education resources and support available for use in their classrooms.

The event, called the Teachers’ Aviation and Aerospace Workshop, has been sponsored here for three years by the Hurlburt Field chapter of the Air Force Association.

According to Jeri Martin, AFA vice president of aerospace education and teacher at Thomas L. Sims Middle School, the purpose of the workshop is to motivate and excite teachers about aviation and aerospace education.

“If you get the teachers excited, then the excitement exponentially expands,” said Ms. Martin. “The teachers go back to school and share it with other teachers and with their students.”

Col. Paul Harmon, 16th Special Operations Wing vice commander, welcomed the teachers Saturday morning.
“Continued strength of America’s Air Force will depend on our ability to recruit quality young people,” said Colonel Harmon in his remarks to the teachers. “You are in an awesome position to assist in this endeavor. I encourage you to take this experience back to your classroom. Tell your students where aerospace education can take them.”

The teachers spent the morning touring 16th SOW aircraft and simulators. Additionally, a Hurricane Hunter crew from Air Force Reserve Command’s 403rd Wing flew in a WC-130J from Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., for the workshop.

Many teachers scribbled notes about how 16th SOW aircrew members must apply math and science skills they learned in early childhood to perform their current jobs.

“The students are always asking ‘when am I ever going to use this?’” said Diane Amos, teacher at Ruckel Middle School. “This proves the importance of learning formulas.”

“If we don’t have our weight distributed correctly, I won’t be able to get the aircraft off the ground,” said 1st Lt. Brad Davis, a pilot with the 15th Special Operations Squadron.

Following lunch at the Reef, the teachers spent the afternoon in classroom sessions.

“This is an amazing program,” said Glenn Rutland, who works regularly with middle school students as a teacher on assignment to the Naval Aviation Museum’s Adventure Flight Deck program.

“I gained so much material from this program last year that I’m able to use over and over,” said Ms. Rutland. “It’s great for any discipline, not just math and science. And it also helps me understand my students better since many are military dependents.”

The program proves to be mutually beneficial. While the teachers received real world applications to their classroom lessons, Airmen from the 16th SOW were able to educate these teachers about opportunities in the Air Force for the next generation.

Lt. Col. Ted Fordyce, 16th Special Operation Squadron director of operations, welcomed the teachers to the AC-130H Spectre Gunship.

“Everyone always thanks us for what we do,” said Colonel Fordyce. “The 16th SOW wants to thank you for what you do.”