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Upper Bucks students take part in Pa. Air National Guard Experience Day

Students from the Upper Bucks County Technical School in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, are treated to meals, ready-to-eat during the Pa. Air National Guard Experience Day here, May 20, 2015. Students learned about career possibilities with the unit and degree programs from the Community College of the Air Force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

Students from the Upper Bucks County Technical School in Perkasie, Pennsylvania, are treated to meals, ready-to-eat during the Pa. Air National Guard Experience Day here, May 20, 2015. Students learned about career possibilities with the unit and degree programs from the Community College of the Air Force. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Christopher Botzum/Released)

Horsham Air Guard Station, Pa. -- The 111th Attack Wing hosted an estimated 80 students from the Upper Bucks County Technical School, Perkasie, here on May 20, 2015 to learn about opportunities to serve with the Air National Guard.

Crafted by the Wing's Force Support Squadron, the 6-hour-long event showed students and educators the nearly 75 different career choices and Community College of the Air Force degree programs available to them right in their own community.

Small groups of students traveled around the base and spent time with representatives from each unit. They were immersed in the specialized jobs the units perform, including the safety harnessing process for climbing and repairing a radio tower to feeling the rumbling power of a 33,000-pound grader.

And what military experience day would be complete without the taste of "chow"? For the mid-day meal, students and faculty were treated to a military staple: meals, ready-to-eat. An unscientific survey regarding the MREs yielded a resounding, "Not too bad" rating from the diners.

The occasion offered the students not only lunch, but also possibilities that they might not have considered before.
  
"The Air National Guard offers options and benefits that ease decision making for students about to graduate [from high school]," said Commander of the 111th Force Support Squadron Maj. Brian Wilson at Horsham AGS.

Success of the event was measured by the interest of the students in attendance.

"This event was the capstone to a several-month long campaign involving school visits and class presentations," said Master Sgt. Kevin Watson, 111th Attack Wing recruiting supervisor. "We have already received numerous inquiries from the students desiring more information on the ANG. The event was a great success for the students."

The experience proved to be one that the event  architects deemed beneficial and worthwhile.

"'College or work? Work or technical training?'  These are the thoughts [with which] students wrestle," said Wilson. "Members of the Air National Guard replace the word or with the word and. We teach you a highly-valued trade, pay you to work and offer the opportunity for college all while remaining in and supporting your community."

Upper Bucks County Technical school serves three area high school districts: Palisades, Pennridge and Quakertown. The technical school offers students valuable life-long skills and training in nearly 25 different trades.