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General talks to next greatest generation

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee
  • Air Force Print News
The four-star general looked into the crowd of eager-eyed cadets -- the next generation of Air Force leaders looked back at him.

General Paul V. Hester, the Pacific Air Forces commander, visited Houston for the strategic outreach plan "Air Force Road Show" and took time to talk with the University of Houston ROTC Detachment 003, university officials and nine junior ROTC groups from Houston-area high schools at an auditorium on the college campus.

It is important to educate the public about the military and the road show is a great opportunity to make that happen, General Hester said.

"It takes Airmen at all levels to encourage the public to learn more about their service," he said. "My part of this is to highlight the specifics of what the Air Force is doing in the war on terrorism, as well as our modernization efforts."

General Hester also talked to the crowd about how the Pacific Air Force fits into the Air Force mission and about the latest developments in the military. He finished the session by answering questions from the audience.

The general, who was commissioned through the ROTC program at the University of Mississippi, said the ROTC program was a great opportunity to learn about the military and that he enjoys interacting with the various ROTC detachments across the country. He said he enjoys interacting with the next generation of Air Force leaders.

General Hester addressed Houston-area civic leaders Dec. 7 and he said he has one topic that he loves to discuss with those he meets on trips that have a limited knowledge of the military.

"You see a lot of people who don't normally talk to military people," he said. "My favorite part is telling them about the great young people. The sons and daughters of American families who volunteered to serve our nation."

Cadet Elias Yousefi was present for the general's visit and said it was a great opportunity to learn from a successful Air Force officer.

"Having an opportunity to speak with a general is not something every college student gets to experience," he said. "It means a lot to us that he took the time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions."

Cadet Yousefi, who grew up in Austin, Texas, said he is interested in becoming a pilot when he graduates from the program. The detachment has become a big part of his life he said and has been essential to teaching him about the military. The general's visit got him even more excited about joining the Air Force.

The general, who started his career as an A-7 pilot, said the trick to being successful is to constantly challenge your boundaries.

Be open to any opportunity," he said. "Volunteer for everything and don't be afraid to do something you are unaccustomed with. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable."