Air Force personnel from the 440th Airlift Wing at Pope Field were given the opportunity to participate in an orientation flight, Jan. 9.

The purpose of the flight was to give personnel an opportunity to see how their individual duties contribute to the wing and to see the air crew during a training mission.

“As an airlift wing, it is critical for every member of our team, civilian, traditional Reserve, air Reserve technician and active-duty Airman, to understand how their hard work pays off. We are all connected through our Air Force specialty codes and ultimately generating C-130H2 combat capability to support national security,” said Col. Sharon Johnson, 440th Maintenance Group commander.

Participants were given a standard safety brief by Lt. Col. John Gorse, Operations Group commander, to ensure a safe flight. “Make sure to put your phone on ‘airplane mode’ and by all means, please have fun today,” he said.

The route traveled over areas of Lumberton, Pinehurst, Rockingham and Fort Bragg. While on the flight, participants witnessed a 2,600-pound, heavy equipment drop onto Nijmegen Drop Zone at Fort Bragg.

After the flight, participants talked about their firsthand experience of the mission.

“It was nice and enjoyable. It was actually my first time in a C-130 (and) it definitely was an adventure. I look forward to going back up again,” said Senior Airman Kenton Waring, a personnel technician for the 440th Force Support Squadron.

“No matter what job you have in the wing, it is important and we want everyone to know and experience a flight in our fleet of aircraft. When things get tough or we get a bit frustrated with our careers, it helps to know that what we do is important and is connected,” said Johnson.

The orientation flight took advantage of routine training by allowing military members and civilians on a training mission that was also a check ride for Maj. Kristie Piotrowicz, a navigator for the 95th Airlift Squadron.

Over the last year, five orientation flights were available to personnel in July, August and October.