Girl Scouts tour March Field

MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. (June 26, 2016) -- 11 Girl Scouts, troop leaders, and parent chaperones from Girl Scout Troop 537 based in Menifee, Calif., and Girl Scout Troop 2085 based in Corona, Calif. visited for a three hour trip on base noon July 27.

The scouts visited the March Field Fire Emergency Services fire station, the F-16 Fighting Falcon hangars, and the base armory for a memorable and meaningful tour.

The first stop on the tour was hosted by Mark T. Hanenberger, an engineer with March Field Fire Emergency Services on base. He demonstrated life saving devices and explained how the vehicles’ fire-fighting equipment was used. The scouts were then presented with a red or pink souvenir fireman’s hat to commemorate their visit to the fire house.

Maddie, a girl scout from Troop 537 said, “It was awesome. I liked everything!”

The tour group’s next stop was the F-16 Fighting Falcon hangar, which was manned by the 144th Fighter Wing, Det-1 on base. Lt. Col. Mark A. Jansky, commander of the 144th FW, Det-1, gave a short presentation about their mission then took the scouts to an F-16 for a rare close-up look at the equipment inside a cockpit of a working plane.

Lindsay Jameson, Troop 537 co-leader, said she was excited to see the F-16 because her dad was an aircraft mechanic.

The tour ended at the base armory, where Master Sgt. Daniel A. Armstrong, police services NCOIC, and Master Sgt. Darryl J. Heisser, along with Staff Sgt. Anthony R. Pineda and Staff Sgt. Nathaniel S. Shelley, all with the 452nd Security Forces Squadron here, gave a short overview of different kinds of weapons that are kept on the base.

The scouts got to see and touch the M4 carbine rifle, Beretta M9 pistol, M16A2 rifle, and a military shotgun. They also got to try out various night vision sights. Heisser taught them how an ASP tactical baton is used and showed them how the weapon is quickly opened and readied before its use.

“I liked the guns,” said Emily, a Troop 537 scout, “It was really cool to see all the shotguns.”

The group’s visit was an adventure for the scouts. Most had never been to a military base before and the group was delighted by the visit.

 “I was so happy,” Maddie said, “I liked learning more about what my brother is going to be.”

Maddie’s brother is leaving to attend Air Force basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in a few weeks. Her mother, Maria Llamas, a parent chaperone for Troop 537, was also very interested in visiting March.

Llamas said that the trip was important because what her son told her of the Air Force wasn’t enough to ease her mind about him joining.

“It was good to see the F-16. I know my son wants to fly them,” said Llamas, “When my son calls me and tells me about them I’ll know what he’s talking about.”

Llamas said the visit made her feel reassured that her son’s decision was a good one. She said she was happy to see the base and wants to bring her son back before he leaves for basic training.

The visit was exciting, memorable, and meaningful for the girls and their parents and even the troop leaders got a lot out of the tour.

“I was looking forward to coming to March,” said Jameson, “My dad was in the Air Force many years ago, during Vietnam. He didn’t really talk much about it.”

Jameson said it was a way for her to connect with her family’s history—a way to connect with her father. She said she was glad to come and wants to come back for another tour.

 “I was getting a little teary eyed,” said Jameson, “It all reminded me of my dad.”