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 By Cpl Tebogo Kekana, Ad Astra, photos by 5ASU  

Twenty-two students from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) visited Air Force Base Waterkloof’s engineering depots and Air Servicing Units on 27 July 2015 with the aim of familiarizing themselves with what the Air Force Base is about, and how engineering traits in the military are maximized.

Maj Mark Mango, 28 Squadron pilot presenting to the engineering students

The entourage included two Candidate Officers (CO) who are studying at state’s expense on a full time basis. CO Sivuyile Tom explained how grateful he was for the opportunity granted by the South African Air Force (SAAF) for him and others to pursue their academic dreams and qualify.

“I wrote to the Officer Commanding of Waterkloof to request a tour for my class, which is in its last year, to acquaint them with engineering careers that the SAAF has, and maybe one or two might take interest. I adviced them to ask as many questions as they possibly can because in the SAAF, they won’t only gain a career, they will be part of a welcoming family too. 

The accompanying Non Commissioned Officer (NCO), Sgt Thapelo Nyalungu, from Corporate Communications, made sure that their tour was attended to by different engineering experts, mainly at 1ASU, because it comprises of various divisions and sections that are related to what they are studying.

The UJ students had the time to ask as many questions as they could on their tour at Waterkloof ASUs

Lt Col Adrian Nortje, a registered Aeronautical Engineer at 1ASU, illuminated how he enjoyed different projects that he has worked on while uniform. He guided the students to start thinking about specialising and to consider applying to the SAAF. “Serving in the SAAF has been rewarding, engineering is a profession where one can earn a lot of money if that is what one is after, but weigh your options. You can make as much money as you possibly can, and compromise the support and love of family. I am happy in uniform, though I work hard, I am still afforded time to be with my family.”

Maj Mark Mango, 28 Squadron pilot at the home of the mighty Hercules, briefed the students about the operations that the Hercules C130 performs and all the responsibilities that 28 Squadron shoulders. “I answered different questions that ranged from the types of engines that we have on our aircraft, the fuel consumption when landing and taking off, thermal positions, the serviceability of our aircraft et cetera. Although the Air Force would have loved to give them a flip and shake their adrenaline, the aircraft that was on standby had to deploy somewhere.”

Capt Felicia Jones spoke at length about the vast careers that the SAAF offers

Capt Felicia Jones sold the SAAF as a career of choice to the soon –to-be qualified engineers. She gave a personal account of how the SAAF has moulded her into the person that she is today. “I came with the knowledge that I was not going to get rich in uniform, I came here looking for fulfillment and I can safely say that I have found more than that, I found myself. You guys stand a better chance of making it anywhere in the world but be assured that should you choose the SAAF, you will be exposed to a whole new world.”


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