Aim High

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Kelly Bales
  • 17th Training Group
The 17th Force Support Squadron’s Information, Transportation and Travel Office is an outstanding organization serving the Goodfellow Air Force Base community of permanent party, students, retirees and family members alike.

This past weekend, my 15 year old son and I had a blast, a blast of more than 100 mph winds. A specially designed, glass, wind tunnel simulated the effects of sky diving and propelled nine participants from Goodfellow one at a time from one foot to 12 feet in the air. This was my first experience ‘sky diving’ and I thoroughly enjoyed the day trip to Austin, Texas.

Each participant was able to enjoy four, two-minute flights to improve their flying skills, all at a fraction of the cost of a regular visit. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, so when I saw the advertisement I knew I had to sign up.

However, I couldn’t help but think ‘Would attending a trip with students of the training base jeopardize my career?’

This is one of the many thoughts a permanent party member may have when considering an adventure like this. Those assigned to the 17th Training Group are required to adhere to Department of Defense, 2nd Air Force and 17 Training Group policies regarding recruiter and trainer prohibited activities. Many permanent party members will go as far as avoiding eye contact, interaction, mentoring and more because they think they’re not allowed to interact with students outside of official duty hours.

Of course, this is a myth. We are all professionals, if we adhere to the proper guidelines set forth in said policies. We can all benefit from mentoring, coaching, and leading our best and brightest Airmen, Sailors, Soldiers, Marines and Coast Guardsmen.

I had a great time talking to two young lieutenants training with the 315th Training Squadron. They were both from Puerto Rico and I was able to practice my language skills in Spanish by speaking with them. It was great to hear how they enjoyed the course. I was then able to provide them with some insight into future opportunities they may have when they graduate.

In short, take advantage of these wonderful opportunities around base and the local community. If you come across a student while out and about, take a few minutes to talk to them and share your experiences.

I look forward to the next opportunity to attend an ITT event. I was very pleased with the professionalism and support they extended.
Be sure to stop by the Goodfellow Event Center or find them on Facebook at