Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Jacob Vasek and 1st Lt. Andrew Tilden with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, pose for a group photo with students at Aliamanu Middle School, Hawaii, Jan. 26, 2024. Students learned about MQ-9A capabilities and aviation career fields in the Marine Corps. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Logan Beeney

VMU-3 Visits Aliamanu Middle School

31 Jan 2024 | Lance Cpl. Tania Guerrero and 1st Lt. Hannah Venables 1st Marine Aircraft Wing

HONOLULU, Hawaii – U.S. Marines from Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron (VMU) 3, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing partnered with Aliamanu Middle School’s Flight and Space classes on Jan. 26, 2023. This visit marked the first time in the school’s history that U.S. Marines introduced students to remotely piloted aircraft, specifically, the MQ-9A MUX/MALE.

The day unfolded as a collaboration between dedicated faculty, teachers and the Marines who volunteered to present and converse with the students. As you enter the Flight and Space classroom, you are met with aviation posters hanging on each wall. It was obvious that the students were well prepared for the visit and eager to learn more about remotely piloted aviation.

The VMU-3 Marines, Cpl. Jacob Vasek and 1stLt. Andrew Tilden, walked to the front of the room with confidence and friendly smiles. They treated the class to an educational presentation featuring a video, diagrams and photos of the MQ-9A that highlighted its capabilities and mission in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Vasek, a sensor operator with VMU-3, emphasized the importance of educating and instilling curiosity in young minds, highlighting the squadron’s dedication to serving their community.

“This visit is an opportunity to demystify what life looks like for aviation professionals who work with remotely piloted aircraft. I hope the students can look back at this visit as an engaging and fun experience. Our goal is to make a positive impact in their life, whether through the Marine Corps or aeronautics in general,” said Vasek. “It's about being able to speak with the youth in our community and say, hey, this is my background and I’ve done this, you can do it too,” he added.

After the presentation, students were given an opportunity to ask the Marines questions about their job and the MQ-9A.

Mrs. Pagala, the Flight and Space class teacher, emphasized the significance of VMU-3’s visit, stating, "It’s extremely important to have mentors in the aviation field because when my students make real-world connections, they can see that their goals are within reach. It makes my vision for this class become a reality."

During lunch, a handful of students had the opportunity to sit down with the Marines and ask additional questions to gain further insight into their experiences.

“The way the Marines showed up today, you could tell they put in a lot of work. It was clear that they came and presented to the students out of love for their community,” Pagala added.

At Aliamanu Middle School, VMU-3 not only educated and engaged but also empowered each student aspiring to pursue a career in the aviation field. The love, dedication and personal connections forged during this visit will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression, inspiring these students to reach new heights in their ambitions. VMU-3 looks forward to being able to continue to engage with the community in which they serve.

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