By Cadet Kileigh Rousey
Looking back on this semester stirs up a lot of emotion for me. My vision was for the POC cadets to properly train the GMC cadets and then fairly test them on their abilities. We started out the semester with “learning rotations” that presented information on many subjects necessary for field training from marching to the dining facility to how to eat (in under 10 minutes) when you finally get there. We also shook up the wing a little bit with the “bombshell”, switching cadets into different flights immediately before the “testing” phase of training. This created a level of stress that will help the cadets remember what they learned from these moments when they are actually at field training. The nervous and under prepared cadet wing that I saw at LLAB 1 exponentially improved into a clean, well organized, innovative group by LLAB 15. Quiet individuals loosened out of their shells and became leaders; while those that already lead learned how to be followers and helped others lead. I have absolute confidence that the freshmen will return as exemplary sophomores ready to take command, and the sophomores will excel at field training this summer. There were many ups and downs, but I know we all learned something along the way.
I would like to provide some advice before I leave this wing and trade in my cadet colonel ranks for butter bars. My first piece of advice, don’t be afraid of change. The ‘T’ in ROTC stands for training, so make the most of it. This is the time to make mistakes, not on active duty when lives are at stake. The thing about being human is that we have the ability to learn from our mistakes. If you’re a freshman, support change and have faith that your leaders are doing what they’re doing for a reason. For those coming back from Alabama, return with fresh ideas and improvements for the wing. I tried many new things this semester, from changes to the PT system to camping at the end of the semester. I don’t regret a bit of it because if nothing else, we learned from the successes and failures of those changes. My second piece of advice is something I yelled all semester, “BE A GOOD WINGMAN!” If there’s one thing I want to hear reported back to Detachment 207 from the officers at FT, it’s that we have a great group of wingmen. We cannot “fly, fight, and win in air, space, and cyberspace” with one single person. So check over other cadets’ uniforms, bring extra blister band aids to field training, and halt your flight in the opposite direction of the sun (especially in Alabama!). After all, we are a force and I think we’d all like to keep it that way. Thank you for all of your hard work and a memorable semester. Best of luck in all your journeys in the Air Force and I hope to cross airways with you again someday! Hooah!
By Cadet Caullen Caldwell
So these last few months you’ve been hearing “Field Training” is hard… we’ve done our best to beat that into you and if you don’t believe it by now, you’re going to be in for a shock. Field Training is hard, and you can’t go into Field Training with the attitude that this is a joke, lest you are in for a rude awakening and would be a poor representation of the Cadets our Det puts out. But, on the concept of attitudes there is something to be said. While you should take this seriously, after all you are going to become an Air Force Officer; you can’t go into Field Training with an uptight, locked-on-all-the-time, scared attitude…
Well I guess you can, because I did, and I can honestly say to you that because I had that attitude going into Field Training, the attitude that I just wanted to survive Field Training and get it over with, it made my first weeks of Field Training hell. No! Please, don’t be that person. Your Field Training experience directly correlates to your attitude. If there is anything that I can get across to you at all, it is this: relax, take a breath, and enjoy the small things.
I went through the first weeks of Field Training completely locked on, and it sucked. I was that guy that bit my cheek till I bled to keep from breaking bearing in the hallway when somebody did something stupid and looking back, I was the only person who wasn’t breaking bearing at those times. The thing is, in those cases, you’re CTA and FTO can’t punish everyone for laughing, especially if they can’t contain themselves either.
I know, shocker, right? Who would have ever thought their CTA or FTO was going to have a sense of humor? You’ve probably had it in your head that they are going to be these hardcore fierce people who never break bearing, and I assure you they will try, but they won’t succeed. Your CTAs will break bearing. Your FTOs will break bearing. And if you do, it’s not the end of the world.
My Squadron got to where we knew how to break our CTAs and FTOs bearing and we did things to test their bearing. Nothing bad happened and I’ve got a lot of great stories because of it. As I’m sure everyone else who’s been there does.
There are times, and you’ll understand what I mean better once you’re at Field Training, when it is okay to laugh, where it’ll be okay to break bearing, and when it’ll be okay to act in certain ways. What I’m getting at, is enjoy the little things, those are the moments you remember when you’ve come home from Field Training.
See, it took more than half of Field Training for my roommates to get this across to me. I had the attitude that I was there to be trained, not to have fun, and I made it where nothing was fun. But once my roommates got me to loosen up I had a blast. I only wish I could do Field Training over again starting out with the attitude I left with. It would have been a completely different experience for me. I knew this come TD 28 and I knew that I had ruined my Field Training experience for myself. Maybe I’m just a masochist, but I would do it all over again if I had the chance (with the same people).
It is what you make of it. It can be the most fun you’ve ever had in your life. Or it can suck worse than anything you ever have done or want to do, EVER. The thing is, that is entirely up to YOU.
But not only did I make it suck for myself but I know I brought down the collective attitude of my Flight and Squadron when my subconscious attitude judged them for taking part in the silly-stupid things that people do to get by at Field Training. And that is one of my biggest regrets. I remember the morning of TD 28 being sad that I was leaving knowing I could have had a better experience, granted I was sick. (BTW if you get stuck under an AC unit at JFTC, use your towel to re-direct the airflow away from you, I found out this trick only too late!)
Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. Take Field Training seriously but have fun at the same time. Perform well, but when you’re not being evaluated have some fun!!
By Cadet Feysel Abdulkaf
What we had was a moment to celebrate the momentous occasion that each cadet wishes to have in their life time. To honor the cadre’s service to their country, with a few gifts here and there and of course the Colonel knowing his people got them wonderful gifts as well. However, the occasion wasn’t meant for physical objects, because that doesn’t encompass their sacrifices to their country. Through the years the strangers in the offices became close friends and trusted allies to each of us, and most of all valuable mentors. Through the years these supermen and superwomen have become human to us. Not that they’re vulnerable, but that the blood that courses through their veins is like ours. That we can each connect to them through service of country. In each class we saw a bond grow; through each class we say a common understanding of serving ones nation. Each of them has served in ways I wish to someday serve my country. I cannot put in words the humility I felt through the ceremony, the honor I felt each time I heard TSgt. Shain yelling through the crowds about their years of outstanding service to country, to air force, and to us.
Good luck wherever life takes you!
By Cadet David Laforge
One thing people may consider when they join AFROTC is their previous military background, or lack thereof. Having no formal interaction with the military prior to ROTC may deter some potential cadets. Likewise, prior enlisted people may be apprehensive about going through a training environment again.
From my time in AFROTC, I can certainly say that people of every experience level can and do attain success in the program. In fact, many outstanding cadets I’ve trained with have had no military affiliations whatsoever. Coming into the program, they said they basically had no idea what the military was about. They were the first ones in their family to put on a uniform, and are now successful leaders. I’ve seen prior enlisted people, even some with combat experience, become very well-adept in ROTC as well.
I myself come from an Air Force family. I’ve been a military dependent my whole life and I’ve lived on bases across the world, finally settling to start college in Fall 2009 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering in Wisconsin. I joined AFROTC Detachment 930, hosted at Marquette University. “Wisconsin is not a hotbed of military activity!” our colonel joked with us in the first week, as many cadets there, freshmen through seniors, were among the first ones in their families to associate with the military. He then indicated the importance that although our future is up to us, our stepping up to the line to put on the uniform already spoke much about our character.
As the semester gained momentum and classes, Leadership Laboratory, and Physical Training were in full swing, us new cadets were amazed at how authentically the upperclassmen embodied the military ideal from two or three years of training, and most of them were from a civilian background. As my class progressed through training, we all realized that our success as leaders is up to us and how we help and mentor each other, no matter where we came from.
I had transferred to AFROTC Detachment 207 in Fall 2010, now attending SIU Edwardsville. With Scott Air Force Base nearby, it follows that there are more military dependents, prior enlisted, and JROTC-types at Detachment 207. And, there are people who haven’t had those opportunities, and again, they become successful too.
The same rules apply here as they did in Wisconsin: the important thing is for those who do have experience to share their knowledge with those who do not. This way, everyone ends up at the same advantage. At Field Training, two prior enlisted cadets were in my flight of 28 cadets. They had no qualms about being back in a training environment. They used their experience to mentor and aide the rest of us, and all 28 of us were successful in the end.
Those milestones in AFROTC like being successful in aerospace class, getting your Prop and Wings at the end of Field Training, and finally commissioning, are definitely shared opportunities that are open to people of all backgrounds.
By Cadet Kevin Abington
Although they may be similar, our reasons for joining AFROTC and career expectations are personal and different. While my reasons for pursuing an Air Force commission are still the same, my career expectations recently changed quite tremendously. I was born color deficient and grew up learning that my opportunities and abilities in life would be a bit limited (there’s a reason I’m not an art major). Although my interest in the military developed after I had accepted that, I was still disappointed when I was told I could never be aircrew. That being said, I was in overjoyed when TSgt Quitalig explained that my eyes didn’t disqualify me from becoming an Air Battle Manager (13BX). You should’ve seen my excitement when Lt Col Dyke called me about being selected for it!
In the short term, I’m really excited for the 9 month Undergraduate ABM Training at Tyndall AFB, FL. If I get the airframe I’d prefer, the E-3 Sentry AWACS, I’ll be looking forward to potential OCONUS assignments in Alaska, Japan, and Germany. Having grown up in the latter country, I always wanted to go back some day; therefore, I’m really hoping for an assignment at Geilenkirchen NATO AB, which houses NATO AWACS. On a more serious note, I also look forward to the fast paced operations they carry out, as ABMs are involved with managing combat on the ground and in the air. They deal with sensitive information necessary for the successful operations of our air and ground units, and guide them throughout their missions. There’s a lot of responsibilities in this career field, but I can’t wait for it. AIRPOWER!!!
By Cadet Steven Bauer
Parks Guard Rifle drill team took to the skies this past month to Los Angeles for their annual attendance at the Southern California Invitational Drill Meet. This meet, hosted by det 060, included JROTC and ROTC color guard, 4-man, 16-man, and inspection teams from as far away as Alaska and Maine. All were competing for first, second, and third place trophies this year with more competition than ever before.
Parks Guard took their 4-man team consisting of Cadet Potje, Cadet Piezcynski, Cadet Bauer, William Washington and alternate Marleigh Voigtman. This 4-man team was scheduled to compete against twelve other senior teams ranging from a small air force detachment in Oregon, all the way to the Naval and Air Force academy teams. Parks Guard was scheduled to perform early in the morning, meaning that the sun would be directly in their faces for their routine. Luckily, no rifles were dropped and the routine went perfectly. With a few hours to kill until all the other teams had performed, Parks Guard retired to the hotel to recuperate and relax at the pool while anxiously waiting to attend the closing ceremony.
Once back at the drill meet, the names were called off of the top three teams. To many people’s surprise, neither the Naval nor Air Force academy were on there and to Parks Guard’s surprise neither were they. Even though the Guard didn’t come home with a trophy, they came home knowing they had a solid routine and made memories that will last a lifetime. A special shout-out to Tom Essenpreis (a Parks Guard Alumni and prior commander) for helping out the guard this past weekend and offering a professional tour of Los Angeles. Hopefully the Guard’s trip to Villanova in April will bring home a trophy but until then we will continue to strive for perfection, excellence, and esprit de corps.
For those interested, here is the link to the routine:
By Cadet Alex Cox
I never like to feel rushed when I am preparing for something. Whether it’s a test, a speech, or a race, I like to go in knowing that there is nothing more I could have done to ensure my best effort. While I think it is easy to see the benefits of this approach, it is not always so easy to implement. There have been more than a few times that I did not put in the preparation that I needed or did not start preparing early enough. Sometimes, I could recover and perform well nonetheless, and sometimes I could not.
No matter how gifted you think you are, Field Training is a situation where you cannot succeed if you do not prepare. Preparation cannot start the day before, the week before, or even the month before. There are now two months left before Field Training. The AS200s have already covered most of the knowledge in the Field Training Manual. I believe any of them could head to Field Training right now and perform adequately. Yet our goal should never be to perform only adequately. To excel at Field Training requires something more…
Confidence is difficult to master, and it requires practice. Do not limit your preparation for Field Training to book knowledge alone. Work on building a confident mindset starting right now. Believe in yourself and the training you have had. Walk with your shoulders back and head up, as appearance says much about your competence. Practice rolling with defeats and setbacks, as you will encounter many of them. If you are unsure of a course of action, do not let indecision dominate. And most of all, be confident in your preparation. Carrying yourself with confidence will serve you well not only at Field Training, but in every other aspect of life upon your return.
By Cadet Brian Potje
From when you are in grade school you are asked what you want to be when you grow up. Most will shout out the answer of a fireman or an astronaut or doctor, but how many will shout out that they want to be an Air Force Officer? As I remember none (at least from my grade school). Even going into high school your vision of your future changes, but as far as I remember becoming part of the Air Force was never even a thought for me. Though now that I am in ROTC all those dreams that you have had when you were younger are now a possibility. Not only could you be that one dream that you had when you were younger, but you can add in the prestige of serving in the military of one of the respected services.
Some look at it in the vision of once you graduate from college you will get a job and that will pretty much be it. You will work at that job, possibly start a family and then work until you retire. For me that just wasn’t enough. We have been told, almost bred, since we were young that we are always working for a goal in the future. I have lived my life by a simple quote that on old coach used to tell me every time before I went into the game, “If you are only giving just a 100% then you are not giving it all that you got, you always have that 110% to give.” I can’t just give up that hard work and perseverance once I just simply graduate from college. Joining Air Force ROTC has made me realize that there is always a new goal. Whether that be, making the new rank, or now having another reason to push me towards my master’s degree. There are some with a English major that can go to working in a nuclear facility in just a few months, then from there move on to be in charge of over a hundred people. All cadets going through ROTC have already accepted the challenge to go beyond the simple: go to classes then graduate. We have all had a professor tell us that for a certain class we need to give up all extracurricular otherwise we will fail this class, and we have proved them wrong. ROTC is not a hobby; it’s not an extracurricular. The Air Force has become a way of life that I couldn’t even imagine losing.
So if you are ever wondering if being in Air Force ROTC could offer you what you want or if it will give you enough satisfaction for the future then you are thinking wrong. This program will allow you to pursue anything you want to do, you just have to be willing to put in the amount of time and work to succeed.
By Cadet Ben O’Neill
The best officers that I have seen conduct themselves in a humble and serving manner. People often times get caught up in themselves and their accomplishments so it is easy to slip into a state of self-glorification. It is not hard for one to look at what they have overcome and view themselves as someone who is better than others. This is human nature. We like to reap the rewards for what we have done. If you work hard, you should be able to enjoy the glory, right? Wrong. This is the trap that unfortunately many officers fall into. They look at what they have accomplished without even stopping to consider all of the people that got them there.
What I have seen in officers that I truly have a genuine respect for is humility. A true leader takes their accomplishments, and instead of receiving the credit which is given to him, deflects that praise to those surrounding him. We can never take full credit for our victories in life simply because the credit is never fully due to us. What about the people in our lives that got us there or the people that helped us achieve that victory? Are we to neglect all that they did and simply take the credit for ourselves? Great leaders humble themselves, and also in doing that they serve as well.
Our lives are not solely about us. A true leader dedicates their time and wisdom to help those that they are in charge of. It is your duty as a leader to help those under you succeed. Think about all the people in your life that were in charge of you. Whether it be a mom, dad, coach, or boss. Those individuals help you grow into the person you are today. You can never take all of the credit for something because you were in some way, shape, or form influenced by those over you.
Being a leader demands a lot. It is not easy to invest in the lives of those under your command. You often sacrifice time, energy, and resources to train or help your subordinates. It is a humble person with a focus on service who will make the sacrifices necessary to invest in themselves in others. Maybe giving up your time to train or help your subordinates is not the first thing on your to do list. But it is what we as leaders need to be doing. At Detachment 207, our program would fall apart if our GMC, POC, and Cadre refused to put in the time to train one another.
By Cadet Craig Miles
1. Run when it is hot outside and run for long distances. Run while the sun is at its peak or when its 85+ degrees (drink plenty of water), and run for long distances of 6 miles +.
2. While at Field Training actively drink and refill your camel back as much as possible. You will be working a hard 17 hour day. Make sure you always find time to refill your camel back.
3. If you are injured, in pain, or have gone more than 3 days since your last bowel movement tell your Cadet Training Assistant/Flight Commander. They are there to keep you safe and active. There is no point hiding an injury that will later get you kicked out from Field Training.
4. Practice memorizing people’s names. Field Training is a mine field full of Cadet Training Assistants expecting a greeting by name.
5. Get used to waking up at 0400 and going to bed at 2100. If you adjust your body now it will be no problem when you get there.
6. Purchase a small metal lock. Not plastic, not a chain, but a straight up metal lock. While at field training I had a lock with a thin wire covered in plastic. One rotating Flight Commander knew these broke very easily so he stood there and yanked on my lock until it became inoperable. I received a From-17. Heed my warning and get a strong metal lock.
7. Memorize the verbiage for everything. Reporting in, reporting in to the dining facility, preparing for an inspection, etc. Verbiage is king.
8. Be prepared to take the test on the Airman’s Manual and Field Training Manual on Training Day 1. Even if you don’t have everything memorized make sure you know where to find it if they allow you to use you manuals.
9. Be prepared to do ridiculous amounts of push-ups and sit ups. You will be doing these every day in small and large increments. I think we did 70 push-ups once followed by diamond push-ups.
10. Practice Superman Drills. Race your friends to see who can switch uniforms the fastest. Develop tricks and muscle memory when shedding you clothes in a hurry.
11. Practice Marching. In Garrison is 98% column marching on large sidewalks and 2% everything else, Joint Forces Training Center is 98% column marching in route step and 2% everything else.
12. Practice Detail marching. Detail: 2-4 Cadets marching together in a 2 by 2 square. Detail commander is on the right or back right of the detail.
13. Realize that the goal of a group leadership project is not to complete the group leadership project. You are being tested on how well you lead. Not on if you can figure out which wing is prepared for an inspection.
14. Practice, practice, practice verbally saying all the quotes from the Field Training Manual. Doesn’t matter how well you may think you have the quotes memorized. If you practice saying all of them out loud it will be much easier to spit it out when you have several cadet training assistants yelling in your face.
15. Maximize your attention to detail. Pay attention to the little things in life everywhere. When you’re walking to class or when you’re watching TV.
16. Remember the 5 P’s. (Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance) in everything that you do.
17. Realize they you will be part of a team and your Flight, Squadron, and Wing will be counting on you to show up prepared. The moment you get there you will become part of a team. Everyone will be relying on you to be able to properly do you job and you theirs.
18. Realize that at field training it’s the little things that get you through the day. French toast for breakfast, smile checks during superman drills (my team would be frantically changing uniforms when one of us would stop, stare at everyone, and say SMILE CHECK! We would then put on a goofy smile and some thumbs up and continue changing), or the fact that you’re becoming a lean mean Air Forcin’ Machine. Don’t be locked on 24/7. It is important to take pleasure in whatever you can.
19. Relax. It is impossible to know everything, but the more you know and the better you train and prepare the easier your life will be. You can’t be 100% prepared for Field training. Even if you knew everything there was to know the Flight Commanders and Cadet Training Assistants would still find ways to through a wrench in the gears of whatever you are doing.
20. Realize that Field Training is a game. They are testing you to see how you respond. You can either buckle under pressure or rise to the occasion.