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Milwaukee-Area Students Participate in On-Base Program

Beng Cha, 19, and Adrian Wells, 18, organize sleeping bags under the supervision of Master Sgt. William ‘Bugs’ Moran, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of war readiness, in the war readiness facility at the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Gen. Mitchell International Airport, on Wednesday, June 23, 2010.  The 128 ARW hosts Milwaukee-area youth during a seven-week Aviation Careers and Education program designed to give the youths work experience for their future careers.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze / Released)

Beng Cha, 19, and Adrian Wells, 18, organize sleeping bags under the supervision of Master Sgt. William ‘Bugs’ Moran, the noncommissioned officer-in-charge of war readiness, in the war readiness facility at the 128th Air Refueling Wing, Gen. Mitchell International Airport, on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. The 128 ARW hosts Milwaukee-area youth during a seven-week Aviation Careers and Education program designed to give the youths work experience for their future careers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Kuntze / Released)

MILWAUKEE -- Six Milwaukee-area students are participating in the Aviation Careers and Education program at the 128th Air Refueling Wing here.

The ACE program allows students to work alongside the Airmen of the 128 ARW, and it teaches them things that will be beneficial in the civilian workforce, said Master Sgt. William "Bugs" Moran, the noncommissioned office-in-charge of war readiness.

Moran said he has two ACE students working with him, accomplishing tasks such as warehousing, storing and retrieving parts, and inventorying.

"The guys keep track of what they did every day, which applies toward job experience," Moran said.

Tracking each day's work and maintaining a steady log of what the students have done will help them when they apply for jobs and write their resumes, Moran said.

Beng Cha, 19, is a freshman student studying computer engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and is also in the ACE program.

"I want to learn more about aviation," Cha said. This is his fourth year with the ACE program and his third year working with the 128th Air Refueling Wing.

Cha said the best parts of the ACE program are meeting new people and learning from them.

Adrian Wells, 18, is a recent graduate of Rufus King High School, Milwaukee, where he excelled at football and wrestling. Wells said he is starting his second year with the ACE program.

Wells said he enjoys the ACE program because it gives him work experience and it allows him to experience the outside world.

"I want to join a video game company, and then advance from there," Wells said, speaking of his future.  "Maybe I'll start my own."

Jerry Vongkhamsay, 17, is a senior at Rufus King High School, Milwaukee, and is also starting his second year with the ACE program.  He is working with Airmen in the 128 ARW headquarters facility.

"The program is a good experience because it teaches leadership, how to work with others and how to manage time," Vongkhamsay said.

Vongkhamsay said he wants to attend a local college and major in computer technology.

"I hope to gain more knowledge about computers, meet more people and learn how things are run," he said. "I'm thinking about joining [the military], but I'm not sure yet."

Vongkhamsay said the ACE program has helped him in his daily life.

"Since I'm usually quiet and shy, it taught me to talk with people and work well with others," he said.

The ACE program has been met with success in the past, helping today's youth transition into careers.

"You'll see people transitioning from student to career," Moran said. "It does work."