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Students get hands-on experience with military tools at MacDill event

"STEM Day" shows kids a potential career path
Posted at 6:04 PM, Mar 02, 2017

"It's not that heavy," says a local student to Senior Airman Chris Spina as he fits the boy with his personal suit of armor.

"When you leave it on for a 12 hour day it gets pretty heavy," explains Spina.

That student was one of about 1200 kids from around the Tampa Bay Area at MacDill Air Force Base on Thursday for "STEM Day." The event is intended to give local students a chance to interact with service members and learn how studying Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can open the door to a good career, whether in the military or otherwise.

"Never before in our nation's history have we depended more on technology and the application of technology to win, not only in air but in space and in cyber space," says Col. April Vogel, the Commander of the 6th Air Mobility Wing based at MacDill AFB.

Col. Vogel stressed the importance of reaffirming America's role as the world's engine of scientific discovery and technological innovation.

For many of the students, the field trip was a window into what they hope will be a future career, including the ability to hold real weapons, get aboard a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, walk around inside an Air Force plane, and use other hand-held devices used currently by the military.

Last year, the event was called Junior ROTC Day, but they changed the name to reflect MacDill's interest in welcoming students outside of the ROTC environment.

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