U.S., Australian air force members inspire future generation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Sergio Gamboa
  • Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

The U.S. and Royal Australian Air Force teamed up to interact with primary school students ahead of the airshow portion of the 2019 Australian International Airshow and Aerospace & Defence Exposition (AVALON 19) in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, Feb. 27, 2019.


“Australia is one of our closest allies and we have plenty of opportunities like this to work with them,” said U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Conner Howard, F-22 Raptor pilot with the 90th Fighter Squadron, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. “Coming down to participate in this event and in Avalon [2019] is a good way to show students the good working relationship we have as allies.”


The school of more than 225 students, ranging from ages 5-10, were educated about missions, aircraft and careers in the Air Force.


“Being able to fly an aircraft in the military is something young kids dream of,” said Royal Australian Air Force Flying Officer Olivia Little, electronic warfare officer with the No. 6 Squadron, Amberly, Queensland, Australia. “Anyone can do whatever they want as long as they put their mind to it and work hard in school.

 Little says she hopes her visit inspires future generations.


“I think it’s important for kids to understand that no matter if you are a girl or a boy, if you have a goal, follow it,” added Little.

With the airshow portion of AVALON 19 coming up, the students had a great time meeting the service members and learning about the different aircraft participating in the airshow.


“We have the air show so close to our school that the students will be able to watch it from here,” said Fiona Grill, teacher at Lara Primary School. “Having pilots that fly the aircraft we will see here and talk to the children was the highlight of the week for them.”


The students also learned that science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) studies play a vital role in Air Force missions; from knowing the mechanics of aircraft to calculating how much time an aircraft can fly with the amount of fuel it has.


“It’s always nice to see kids interested in what you do,” said Howard. “That gives me the motivation to continue to work hard and inspire the future generations of Air Force members to come.”