• Life In the Air Force

    By Cadet Brittany Hamuka 

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    The Air Force has greatly impacted my life. Growing up in a military family I was given many opportunities. I was able to see the world, learn different cultures, and meet a lot of people. Although growing up in the military took away time with family back home, my immediate family has established strong relationships from around the world with people that we consider to be closer than family. I never stayed in a place longer than three years and growing up under the care of the Air Force, I now consider home to be wherever the Air Force sends me.

    Becoming an Air Force Officer brings a variety of opportunities, along with a rewarding lifestyle. Being a member of the Air Force provides you with benefits in housing and insurance as well as, education, travel, comradery and much more.

    Housing

    While airman are at work getting the job done, the Air Force makes sure that every airmen is taken care of and rewarded with basic needs. Each airman is provided to with the opportunity to apply to live on base. When an airman is chosen to live on base, their maintenance and utilities expenses are covered by the Air Force. However, some airman chose to live off base. When making the choice to live off base, airmen will receive a housing allowance, which will help with the expenses of living off base. The amount received in a housing allowance depends on rank, family status, as well as location.

    Insurance

    When joining the Air Force you will not have to worry about insurance. The military takes care of insurance for both military personal and their families. Military insurance covers dental and medical. Airman, as well as their families can be treated and taken care of at base medical facilities or by off base civilian medical centers.

    Being in the Air Force provides you with job flexibility. You will have the opportunity to have a variety of different jobs and tasks throughout your military career. You will also be able to work with numerous different people.While in the military you are always learning new things. You can also be given the opportunity to go back to school without paying a dime.

    Comradery

    In the military you move around a lot and see a variety of different places. While moving around you meet many new people, learn about different cultures and explore new things. Although being in the military takes time away from your family, the military provides you with comradery.

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  • Aim High

    By Cadet Brandon Kauling 

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    Choosing to become an F-22 Raptor fighter pilot as my dream job might seem like it wouldn’t have taken a whole lot of thought, but I assure you that more went into it than I just had the “need for speed”.

    Determining an occupation can be a very in-depth and important selection in a young individual’s life, and I was no different in the matter. For some, the choice can be an impulsive decision or even a dream from an early age, although it will undoubtedly influence the major forthcoming events in his/her life.

    Not a single person in my family, or anyone I directly knew, for that matter, had ever been affiliated with any sort of aviation or the military. It is easy to say then, that when I made the decision, it was quite unique. The choice for me to join aviation absolutely happened to me by chance, and I am already certain it was the correct one.

    While in my younger years I never gave much thought into what I wanted to do with the remainder of my life, though I most certainly did not want a typical boring desk job. I have always had a natural ability for driving and operating machinery and vehicles. I loved the outdoors, and enjoyed adrenaline rushes. I knew that I wanted the occupation I chose to suit these characteristics because above all, I want to enjoy every moment of what I do. I do not want to just work for a salary.

    There was one thing that had always been certain in my life though: the fact that every time I saw a military member or when a military commercial came on the television, there was almost an involuntary reaction that made me stop everything I was doing at that moment. It would always send chills through my body. As time went on I knew that at one point or another, I would be a service member.

    The idea formed when I began touring colleges. I was initially looking into an engineering degree, as I have always had an out-of-the-box style of thinking and an interest in designing and construction. After touring a few other schools I decided to look at Saint Louis University. During the tour of their aerospace engineering degree, the tour guide, who was actually an extremely down-to-earth janitor from the university, informed me that there was actually a degree to learn how to become a professional pilot.

    This was when I realized precisely what I wanted to do for a living. The deeper I delved into the Flight Science degree at SLU, the more my decision was reassured. I was then informed of the prestigious AFROTC program at the university, thus forming my dream job right in front of my eyes. I would have a chance to become a pilot and defend the greatest country known to man in some of the most impressive aircraft currently in aviation. Which aircraft that is to be, is yet to be known. Ultimately, I want to fly a Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor and/or become an Air Force Thunderbird, although I would certainly not complain with any fighter or heavy Air Force aircraft.

    It is always there, in the back of my mind, the feeling that it is my calling to be a part of aviation through the Air Force. It is beyond a reasonable doubt that it is exactly what I am meant to do.

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  • FTP semester From the Eyes of a 250

    February 25, 2014
    Posted by AFROTC Public Affairs Officer
    Category Air Force ROTC
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    By Cadet Mindaugas Asipauskas 

    FTP Semester 2014

    Becoming a part of something greater than you, takes courage, hard work and motivation and the ability to work as a team. There are many great challenges ahead but with each challenge we overcome, we are one step closer to our goals of becoming the Air Force Officers of the future. With our continued growth as individuals and as a squadron, I believe we have what it takes to push through as FTP’s and be successful at field training. I wish to my fellow class to not give up and continue on pushing through as we get closer to our time to show what we’ve learned. To my fellow classmates, the end is in sight. This is our time to show what we’ve learned. It is our time to lead by example. When it gets tough, remember the creed: never falter, never fail!

    Now that the field training prep semester has finally started, the stakes are getting ever higher. Pressure to perform has increased, and the stress has heightened. As a GMC cadet I know that we must master many things prior to attending field training. For some it is marching, while for others its warrior knowledge or proper verbiage. Whatever it may be, the pressure to perform is building, as we get closer to the end of this semester and closer to our time to go to Field Training.

    One might wonder how a college student feels during their FTP semester, when all of this additional pressure on top of being a full time student has to be managed? It certainly has been tougher than my last semester. There are new challenges and expectations that continue to push us FTPs with every new Leadership Lab. My FTP semester has been tough so far, but I know it will only get tougher as we go deeper into the semester and more and more will be expected of us.

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  • Alumni Bio: Colonel Paul McLaughlin

    By Cadet Casey Smith

    col-mclaughlin-1mmColonel Paul McLaughlin, Alumni Det 206

    Colonel Paul McLaughlin is the Chief Airfield Operations Officer for Air Mobility Command (AMC) He received a bachelor’s degree in Physics and a master’s degree in business administration. The information in this article comes from an interview that took place on 2 December 2013 near the Air Force ROTC Detachment 207 building between Colonel McLaughlin and myself, Cadet Casey Smith. Some background information to go along with this article is that the Colonel graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Detachment 206, which was absorbed by Det 207 at St. Louis University. The interview covers questions about airfield management and control and life in the US Air Force.

    So what does Colonel McLaughlin do in the Air Force?

    Right now, Colonel McLaughlin is the Chief of Airfield Operations division at AMC. He is in charge of a 40-person staff along with air traffic at all 13 AMC locations and the other 2500 airfields across the world under AMC control. He is responsible for air traffic control, airfield management and suitability, airspace management, weather, and terminal instrument procedures. Basically to make sure that all airfields and bases are fully functional and there are no obstructions or problems with the landing strips or dangers around the airfield that would hinder air mobility operations throughout the Air Force.

    How did Colonel McLaughlin get to where he is at?

    The Colonel started out as an Air Traffic Controller in 1986 when air control was still part of the communications squadron (now it is part of the operations support squadron.) Once the switch was made to Ops Support airfield operations was added to their responsibilities. He started out as a flight commander after that and managed deployment policies under the Air Force Flight Standards Agency for airfield management and traffic control career fields. He then became a squadron commander, not in the airfield operations field, but under recruiting which gave a broader picture of the Air Force. He then, afterward, was the Deputy Mission Support Group Commander which wasn’t quite in the track of an airfield management career just like recruiting.

    What is a day in the life of Colonel McLaughlin?

    “Some days are busy and some days are not.” The Colonel pointed out. He now has around four large projects that have Air Force-level implications that require him working on. One is with the NIGA (National Intelligence Geospatial Agency) that works with the flight publications for the DOD. This project helps with finding out information and policies for airfields throughout the world and what needs to be done to fly into them. Another job is to go through headquarters and review different MAJCOM (Major Command) publications to make sure they meet the needed requirements that AMC operates in. He works to make sure that there are no obstructions that would make an approach unsafe. For an example how wind farms can effect radar by bouncing around the signal in Travis AFB, California.

    What are some of the challenges of Air Traffic Control?

    “If you’re a good air traffic controller, then there aren’t going to be any problems keeping aircraft at three miles of separation and 1000 feet elevation.” There are times when aircraft get close but modern technology such as proximity detectors they can stay at a safe distance. Usually only people who don’t follow the procedures or if there are some poorly-written procedures that make things close. Usually the only close calls or dangerous flying happens in Afghanistan due to poor radar or needing to take evasive actions.

    What advice does Colonel McLaughlin have for those interested in airspace management?

    It is an exciting career field when you’re a flight commander leading 50-100 people. Things change every day and is a very dynamic and interesting environment. Some days you get to go up in the tower and control traffic or working on a project on the airfield that aircraft can avoid and get around things like construction. Headquarters and staff jobs can be a little “boring” but while you’re on the line it is very exciting and busy. People are easily putting in 10-12 hours as a flight commander taking care of people or a project they are working on. 27 years into the job the Colonel is still having fun and keeping busy. Every base has an airfield management officer and requires the work along with it.

    Are there any extra classes or training that would help someone looking at this career field?

    The only thing the Colonel thought of was Airfield Safety. Military training and experience has really prepared Colonel McLaughlin. He graduated with a degree in Physics and the only airfield management training he has is from Air Force and military training. Experience is really the best teacher because an Airfield Operations Officer really needs to apply different lessons from other situations to the career field.

    How similar are USAF and AMC policies to the FAA?

    The signs and a lot of the procedures are the similar. AMC flies similar to passenger planes, taking personnel or cargo from one place to another and have to fly into a lot of the same airfields and thus follow the same procedures. Fighter planes are different because they have different landing and approach procedures but the basic rules are the same. The only thing different are tactical landing and takeoffs to train pilots for flights in places like Afghanistan. The US Air Force controls about 15-20% or US airspace and has to follow the same procedures as the planes that might fly into that airspace.

    So what is Colonel McLaughlin’s best memory in the USAF?

    When the Colonel was a Recruiting Squadron Commander he was working the lunch hour at an inner-city school with a new recruiter and flight chief. Basically, just talking to the kids about the Air Force and to gain interest. During the last of four lunch periods he went out to talk to kids at their table about the Air Force and all of a sudden he was talking to about 15-20 kids all very interested in the Air Force because of what he was saying. He really just liked to talk to young people about the Air Force and see their interest.

    What is the best part of Officer/Air Force life?

    Colonel McLaughlin describes “leading and interacting with other people” as the best part of the job. Any airfield is going to have an Airfield Operations Officer and likely going to have one or two officers there working with about 50-100 enlisted in the flight. Getting to know them and mentor them to guide them toward a leadership position and watching them grow. But you do have to have that desire to lead and every officer should strive to become a squadron commander.

    Where was Colonel McLaughlin’s favorite place to live?

    Colonel McLaughlin’s favorite base was Bitburg Air Base in Germany. He spent three years there in 1991-1994 when the base was closed. It had three squadrons of F-15’s. Just being in Germany was a great experience and all of the places he’s seen and the people he met, including his wife, in Germany were awesome. It was a very personal level at the unit level with a good recognition of leadership. It was a fun place both on the professional side and on the recreational side, whether skiing in the Alps or Oktoberfest.

    What have been some of the jobs that stood out to Colonel McLaughlin?

    Airfield Operations at Rammstein, Germany stood out for the Colonel when he took over the job of flight Commander when the previous commander got fired. He quickly had to build up the morale and trust of the air crew and air traffic control by getting to know the enlisted and officers to fix the problems that arose before he got there. Also being a recruitment officer for the Midwest was a challenge to start with but was also fun to get out there and talk to people about the Air Force.

    What award does Colonel McLaughlin feel the most accomplished to receive?

    The Colonel was most proud of the Bronze Star for being deployed in Afghanistan for a year. He was dealing with private security and teaching the Afghani army how to make a private enterprise to take over from some of the contractors that we were hiring to take control of the air bases. It wasn’t exactly Airfield Operations but it was still hard to do.

    What advice does Colonel McLaughlin have for cadets in ROTC now?

    Take advantage of your schooling. Participate in the ROTC program as much as you can. If you find something that you really like then take the time and the extra effort to find out all you can about it before you get into that job. If anyone has any questions go over to Scott Air Force Base or another base close by to learn more from someone who actively works in that career field.

    Contact

    If you have any other questions or wish to get into contact with Colonel McLaughlin please feel free to email me at casey.smith.det207@gmail.com or Colonel McLaughlin at 618-229-3316 or paul.mclaughlin@us.af.mil.

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  • Pathway To My Future

    by Cadet Haleigh Jones

     

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    My time as an AFROTC cadet has only been for a short period of time since I am currently an AS100 just finishing up my first semester in the program. None the less my time spent as a cadet has been a journey.

    I did not come from a military family so becoming an air force officer has not always been a dream of mine. The idea of joining anything military related was never brought up in my household. That was until my older brother made the decision to join AFROTC. My brother has always been a large influence in my life and someone to look up to. So, he brought the program to my attention and I was ready to listen. While informing me of everything the program had to offer he grabbed my attention. After many long talks with him I began to see that the route of AFROTC could potentially be a good decision for me as well and I too, with my family’s support, decided to join.

    I started out my first semester with little knowledge of the program and military in general. So, reasonably I was very nervous and not exactly sure what to expect. But, I chose to view the year as an experience more so than a commitment I was ready to make. Although there were many times I seemed to think to myself that the program wasn’t for me or I could be spending my time elsewhere I began to realize AFROTC is a place I belonged and have a future in. Through the struggles of time management, pressure filled leadership labs, and physical requirements, many obstacles were overcome and it all began to seem worth it. AFROTC has not only provided me with the knowledge necessary to be successful in the military but in life as well; leadership being one of the main lessons. I have also gained many experiences and unforgettable memories while in the program. As well as a direction for my future, which is something that has not always been clear to me. I have grown with the program and personally.

    Joining AFROTC has been one of the best decisions I have made thus far and I am excited for what the future holds in store for me as a cadet. Now I am ready to take the steps to make this a priority and major goal in my life. I am ready for the commitment and opportunity to make a difference alongside many other great individuals.

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  • End of Year Video

    By Detachment 207

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  • Follow Your Dreams

    by Cadet Asipauskas

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    Some say the sky is the limit.  I disagree.  The moment I first saw a jet airliner when I was six years old, I knew I wanted to become a pilot. That childhood dream has continued to follow me to this day.  Now, I am a junior at Saint Louis University majoring in Flight Science. In my time here at SLU, my aviation dream has evolved into a desire to not only fly, but to serve my country as well.

    One of Saint Louis University’s goals is to create well-rounded and educated citizens.  This is just one of many reasons I chose SLU.   Not only am I receiving excellent training in aviation, but SLU has influenced me in many other positive aspects.  This very shaping of my character is what gave me the confidence to pursue my dream and serve this great country, leading me to join AFROTC this year. I am determined to make the United States Air Force the next chapter in my life. The USAF will not only help me fulfill my career desires, but also it will allow me to give back to this country that has given me opportunities that has given me so many opportunities to follow my dreams.

    I am an AS250 cadet in the Air Force ROTC program here at Detachment 207.  This experience has definitely been tough, but it also has been very exciting.  Meeting others that share the same ambitions and passions as myself is beyond rewarding.  Overcoming obstacles as a team and the camaraderie that it builds can only be had in the Armed Services. Many people let their dreams die as they get older, when realities of life set in. Regardless of the hurdles in life, don’t give up on your dreams. Instead, let them be the fuel that makes those dreams reality.

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  • When The Tough Get Going

    by Cadet Hanebrink

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     As I near the beginning of my fourteenth month as an ROTC cadet, I must reflect on the entire experience as a whole and what incredible things it has done for me. I entered ROTC at the beginning of my junior year in college, which in turn, branded me as a AS250 student. I had no prior military related experience and I did not come from a military family (my grandfather, uncle, and godfather are the only people I knew to serve in the Armed Forces- Army, Navy, and Marines respectfully). What led me to ROTC was the fact that I had a strong interest in serving my country and thought it would be an excellent pathway to the career field I wanted to pursue, but I wanted to do so through the Navy. I contacted a Navy recruiter and set up multiple interviews and meetings with him; however, my parents felt more comfortable that I finish school before I decide to join the military. My parent’s opinions are something I always take into consideration before making a decision, therefore this led me to a Google search, which in turn led me to the AFROTC program offered through my college at SLU. I remember thinking that this was exactly what I wanted to do so I picked up the phone and called the detachment.

    As mentioned, I had absolutely zero military experience, so when I walked in my first LLAB on that hot August afternoon, I was naturally very confused. Most of the cadets in my class already had a pretty good idea of what they were doing, so I felt very behind right off the bat. However, I am a highly competitive individual and I do not like to fail, so I worked extremely hard to get to the level that the rest of my class was at. I sacrificed a lot of personal time for studying Warrior Knowledge and watching YouTube videos on drill and ceremonies. I would practice facing movements in my tiny apartment hallway, in an effort to perfect them. I already had a busy workload from school, working at my job, and playing as a Division II softball athlete, but ROTC was one of my top priorities. I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a time when I asked myself, “What am I doing here?” or “Why am I doing this?”. However, the moment after I asked myself this, I answered, “Because this is where you want to be and this is what you want to do.” I wanted nothing more than to serve my country, while surrounding myself with high quality people, and working in a career field that I loved. When I picture my future, this is what I picture. Even through all the hard times, the late night study cramming sessions, and the blisters from drilling, I would not want to do anything else. My hard work paid off when I received my slot for field training! I was very nervous about whether or not my EA would get accepted for a slot because I was an AS250 student and had only a few months experience; but, when you set your mind to something and refuse to fail, everything begins to fall into place.

    My advice to all GMC would be that when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. ROTC has already taught me, in such a short period of time, many life lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I have been befriended and acquainted many amazing people with high morals and values that I will forever cherish. When I am an elder, I want to reflect back on my life and proudly say, “Yes, I did that”.. and it all started with Detachment 207 out of St. Louis University!

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  • My Experience With ROTC

    by Cadet Steven Bauer

    img2007-r0zGood Afternoon,

    I am Cadet Steven Bauer and I am a junior in Saint Louis University’s Air Force ROTC program. Air Force ROTC has been the greatest highlight of my college career because I have learned a great deal in my classes and in our Leadership Labs that have helped me become a stronger, more confident leader. The ROTC program not only teaches you how to be a leader, but also to be physically fit, have a professional demeanor, and acquire people skills that will help you while on active duty.

    The program also offers extra-curricular activities such as the Detachment 207 Color/Honor Guard and Arnold Air Society which allow you to increase your participation in the program. I am currently in the Detachment 207 Color/Honor Guard and had the experience of being the American flag bearer during the opening Rams game this year. The Color/Honor Guard also participates at many other venues and events in and around the St. Louis area and is an awesome extra-curricular activity to be involved in. Not only do you get to travel around and present the colors for events, but you also get to meet people of prior military service and have them share their experiences with you.

    Arnold Air Society is another extra-curricular activity and is a service based organization that allows you to build professionalism and knowledge that it takes to be an Air Force officer. They are the cadets who go the extra mile to become more well-rounded cadets through increased Air Force knowledge and community service. ROTC offers a lot of opportunities for professional growth and creates a special bond between the members that will last a lifetime. It also has opportunities to become even more involved in the community while maintaining the image of a professional cadet corps. ROTC’s mission is to develop quality leaders for the Air Force, and I believe the program here at Saint Louis University is doing just that through their overall program as well as their extra-curricular activities that are offered.

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  • If You Want To Go Far

    September 21, 2013
    Posted by AFROTC Public Affairs Officer
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    By Cadet Joshua Joyce

    174580-r1-13-11a-gpkOne of my favorite sayings is an old African maxim: “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.”  In pre-colonial Africa, traveling had many hazards and dangers.  In the wild, you could face fierce predators looking for their next meal.  You could encounter other hostile tribes.  You might contract all different types of diseases and sickness from parasites, to yellow fever, to malaria.  Facing these dangers alone was perilous.  Because of this, it was understood that there was strength in numbers.  When you had to travel far, you needed others.  You looked out for the men and women beside you and they looked out for you.  To do any less could mean death.  

    ROTC is built on a similar concept of viewing yourself not as an individual, but as part of team, always looking out for each other.  We call this the wingman concept.  You will face many difficulties in training as a GMC that will challenge you to use this concept.  Field Training will probably be the hardest 28 days you’ve experienced, but it will be filled with opportunities to practice this idea.  Yet, even knowing the wingman concept, I saw too many cadets gunning hard for awards, limelight, and recognition.  They cared little about those around them.  They wanted to go fast and hard.  None of them did well.

    If your uniform looks as sharp as it can be, but the rest of your flight looks sloppy, I’m going to blame you first.  If, at Field Training, your stuff is glistening and inspection perfect in your room, and everyone else in your room’s stuff is horrible, you’re going to be the belle of the ball with your Field Training Officer.  And if you’re willing to sacrifice the cadets around you to look good, you’re missing what it means to have the honor of bearing the name United States Air Force on your chest.

    So if you want to go fast and hard, knock yourself out.  But if you want to go far…

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