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Gen-Z Meets C-17s

  • Published
  • By by Staff Sgt. Laura J. Montgomery
  • 145th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
For a brief moment; eyes diverted from colorful screens of various shapes as two C-17 Globemaster III aircraft touched down and taxied towards a packed hangar at the North Carolina Air National Guard Base, Charlotte-Douglas Intl. Airport, Saturday April 7, 2018. Awestruck teens from the Charlotte Civil Air Patrol, University of North Carolina Charlotte, and Clover High School Choraliers were just three groups of Generation-Z in attendance for the momentous occasion as friends and family of the North Carolina Air National Guard welcomed and accepted the new C-17 Globemaster III aircraft into their unit.

Not to be confused with “Millennial,” Generation-Z youth are much like those individuals born after The Great Depression but with technological advantages. Generation-Z were born with events like September 11th being recent history, making them more conscious of current events and their impact on not just their lives, but the lives of other people across the globe.

“It’s really awesome just to get a taste of what all this feels like, it’s a giant family in my opinion. I like that community, that bond that holds us together,” said 19 year-old Daniel Harter, Cadet 3rd Class with Detachment 592 of University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Detachment 592 sent 20 cadets to help with the Acceptance Ceremony and the cadets graciously complied with every task including mopping up the rain-soaked floors inside the hangar so as to assist the public in avoiding slips or falls.

“When I was applying to college I knew I wanted to be in R.O.T.C. My dad loves that I’m doing this and he’s super excited for me because I was just awarded a scholarship yesterday,” said Harter.

Generation-Z, a typically pragmatic group, are aware of what goals need to be achieved in order to get where they want in life. They are more socially conscious, engaging less in media platforms such as Facebook and focusing more on applications like Snapchat or Whisper where their personal life is more discreet and less accessible to the public.

“I love it [Civil Air Patrol]. We just flew down to Moody Air Force Base and we got to open the cargo doors while on flight of a C-130H [Hercules aircraft] over the ocean. That was a very fun time,” said Jonah Bailey, 15 year-old cadet with the Charlotte, North Carolina Civil Air Patrol.

The Charlotte, North Carolina Civil Air Patrol sent 20 of their 60 cadets, including 4 honor guard members, to present The Colors during the Acceptance Ceremony while the remaining 16 were able to get a front-row view of the heavy aircraft touching down.

“For me, I do want to be a pilot. This might be a path for me, the Air Force, get some flight hours, and eventually go into commercial piloting. The Air Force or R.O.T.C. [Reserve Officer’s Training Corps] may be an option for me, “ said Bailey.

While Bailey is mulling over his entryway into flying, cadet Harter is following in his father and two uncle’s footsteps by joining the military ranks. While his father served in the U.S. Navy, one uncle served in the U.S. Army. Harter’s other uncle flew C-130 Hercules aircraft while serving in Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force; his stories influencing his nephew’s future path.

“My goal is to be a C-17 [Globemaster III] pilot, I want to fly. I want to fly with the big heavy aircraft. Honestly, my goal is 20 years, when I stay in for the first 10 I want to travel but if they keep me here I’ll be happy, if they send me elsewhere I’ll be happy, wherever the Air Force sends me I’m happy,” said Harter.