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AIM and Project Tuskegee team inspire next generation of Strikers

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Landon Gunsauls
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Members of the 37th Helicopter Squadron and the 319th Missile Squadron travelled to several schools across Arizona on an Aviation Inspiration Mentorship Program trip while supporting the efforts of Project Tuskegee from April 22 to April 30, 2023.

Project Tuskegee is an initiative of Air Force Global Strike Command, with the intention of increasing awareness of educational and career opportunities in AFGSC’s rated and non-rated operations career fields, including missileers and pilots, directed toward individuals within underrepresented communities.

AIM is a program designed to reach out and inspire the next generation of Air Force aviators and enlisted crew members. The crew was available to answer questions and provide incentive flights to Cadets.

“At one school, we had 550 kids or so that we got to speak to. Many of them were just not familiar with the Air Force or requirements and we got to dispel a lot of myths about what it takes to be in aviation, to include vision and height requirements, plus the fact that there are females in the military,” said Lt. Col. Kathleen Tenpenny, 37th Helicopter Squadron commander. “It was kind of our goal to show people what is possible and be an example, but also answer questions.”

Members of the 37th HS were able to visit Arizona State University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps unit, the 25th Cadet Wing, as well as take selected cadets on flights around Scottsdale. The team was also able to visit three schools in and around Tucson, one of which was Salpointe Catholic High School, Tenpenny’s alma mater.

The team was accompanied by Capt. Ryan Poppert, Minuteman III weapon system instructor for the 319th Missile Squadron, who had the opportunity to speak to the merits and opportunities in AFGSC.

“For us to stay ahead of our adversaries and peers, one of the biggest things we use to our advantage is people with unique backgrounds and diverse experiences. When we bring all that together, we can then create this unique solution to whatever problem we're facing,” said Poppert. “Only coming up with an approach from one angle isn't necessarily a solution, nor is it the perfect solution. Everybody has a different viewpoint, a different aspect on what the problem is based on how they grew up and what their life experiences are. If we can tap into that, we can apply these awesome solutions.”

For more information regarding either Project Tuskegee or AIM please visit: