PHS JROTC Takes Flight on C17

Jessica Smith, Staff Writer

Students from different schools in the Rankin County School District prepare for takeoff from the Jackson, MS Air-guard Base on February 12, 2019. After taking their seats, the sound of seat-belts clicking together and students taking their last nervous breath filled the air. Once the plane was in the air, the sound of student conversations (some nervous, some relaxed) and laughter consumed the inside of the C-17 military jet.

The active duty flight officers planned for the pilot to fly these students through Texas, Louisiana, and even to Little Rock, Arkansas. They chose these three different states so that the JROTC students would have the opportunity to observe a little bit of everything.

On the day of the flight, the weather was rainy which caused a little bit more turbulence once the plane was in the air. Once the C-17 left Jackson, MS, everyone was allowed to get up and explore the inside of the jet.

Several students unbuckled their seat-belts and got up to walk around, so they could see all the different devices that active duty military members use. There were several different types of switches alongside the wall that are used for various situations. Students were in awe at the things they saw and the knowledge they gained from asking questions.

A student from Pelahatchie, Rose Gibney, claimed that it was her first time flying. She was terrified at first, but she ended up loving the experience. “I’m glad I went flying for the first time, and I think that this would be a great experience for anyone,” said Gibney.

“I am so grateful that I got to experience this amazing opportunity; this was my first time flying, and it was cool to experience that on a military jet instead of just a normal passenger plane,” said Jessica Smith.

Although many students had fun, there were some who did not enjoy it quite as much. Gaven Boydstun had never flown before until now, and he liked the experience but was hesitant on whether or not he would fly again. Boydstun said he would never fly again until he owns a private jet.

The Air Guard Base hopes to have the opportunity to fly a different group of JROTC cadets next school year.

The C-17 is a military jet that is used for hauling cargo whether it be equipment, injured soldiers, active duty soldiers, or even civilians. This military jet measures 174 feet long with a wingspan of 169 feet, 10 inches. The C-17 crew consists of a pilot, co-pilot, and a load-master.

This jet can carry 102 troops or paratroops, 36 litter, and 54 ambulatory patients along with 170,900 pounds of cargo. While this jet is useful for transporting items or people, it also is used to perform tactical airlift or airdrop missions.

After exploring the jet itself, students returned to their seats to prepare for landing.

Students rushed back to sit down, and once everyone was seated the sound of seat-belts clicking consumed the plane once again. Everyone began carrying on conversations about their experience.

Those students who had never flown because of a fear of flying had smiles that could light up a room on their faces because they had just conquered their fear. Once the jet landed back at the Air Guard Base, students went their own way.

The overview of a town from 36,000ft above.
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ROTC cadets gather together to listen to the medics give a brief of their job.
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Load-master demonstrates one way the military disguises the inside of the C17.
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JROTC cadets board the jet.
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From left to right, back to front: Holden Gray, Landin Pierce, Eric Davis, Jose Banuelas, Selena Sharp, Chris, Baggett, Gaven Boydstun, Jessica Smith, Heather Smith, Carmen Hamilton, Rose Gibney, Deanna Jones, and Annabelle Graham


Although the day began with nervous conversation and laughter, it ended in joy and gratefulness to the Air Guard Base for giving this opportunity to these cadets.