September 2013

  • 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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  • The Switch

    September 17, 2013
    Posted by AFROTC Public Affairs Officer
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    by Cadet Dahm



    So there I was at Camp Shelby. It was training day 14 of Field Training and the intensity was high as could possibly be. As I sat in the dining facility, my eyes began to wander. That’s when the hammer of God came down on me.

    “Cadet Dahm! Lock it up! Why are you looking around?!”

    It was one of my biggest fears. Cadet Cox, at this time Cadet Training Assistant Cox, had caught my eyes from the other side of the dining facility with his CTA radar. He quickly stormed across the dining facility, almost at a sprint, until he was directly in front of me, hovering over me as I quickly tried to swallow my food.

    “Answer me Cadet Dahm! Why are you looking around?!”

    Before I could answer, my Field Training Officer chimed in.

    “Hey CTA Cox, I was asking him that exact same question this morning.”

    That’s when CTA Cox really laid into me.

    “Cadet Dahm, you have already been corrected on this? Give me a 341.”

    After receiving the filled out 341 from CTA Cox, I got up to leave the table with my flight.

    “Good evening Cadet Cox.”

    My heart dropped into my stomach as soon as the words left my mouth.

    “Cadet Cox?! Cadet Cox?!” CTA Cox exclaimed.

    I quickly corrected myself.

    “Good evening CTA Cox!”

    It was too late. I began to reach for another 341.

    “Cadet Dahm, what are you doing?! I didn’t tell you to give me another 341! From now on, you have to call me Cadet Training Assistant Cox.”

    “Yes Cadet Training Assistant Cox. Good evening Cadet Training Assistant Cox.”

    “Good evening Cadet Dahm”.

    Now fast forward 12 days to TD 26. The Camp Shelby portion of Filed Training was done. Spirits were high as we said good bye to the training staff that we had spent the last two weeks with. CTAs were giving their last words of advice before they left our staging area to go welcome the incoming group of cadets.

    After all but a couple of the CTAs left the area, most activity calmed down. All of the cadets went into our waiting area to wait our turn to board the buses back to Maxwell Air Force base. Some people talked, but most people slept. After catching up with the cadets from Det 207, I thought it was best to get some shut eye. After returning to my flight area, I sat down on the floor against a wall, and like a light, I was out. 

    I jolted awake a little later. I don’t know what woke me, but when I woke up, the flight across from me was staring at me smiling. I soon learned why.

    “Good morning Cadet Dahm.”

    CTA Cox was sitting on the ground right next to me with a huge smile on his face. I quickly locked it up, drool running down my face .

    “Good morning Cadet Training Assistant Cox!”

    “Calm down Cadet Dahm. That’s gotta be the biggest drool line I’ve seen. I was going to shake your hand, but how have you been?”

    At that point I couldn’t hold it in anymore and a smile broke across my face. Cadet Cox and I went on to have a pretty good conversation. We talked all about my Field Training experience, what I liked and didn’t like, and how I thought I did. The Cadet Cox I was talking to was completely different from the CTA Cox I had multiple run ins with through my stay at Camp Shelby. After some time, he said he had to go and left after congratulating me on a job well done. I saw him one more time before I left, but that is a story for another time.

    So what is the point of that story? No, Cadet Cox is not bipolar. My experience with Cadet Cox at Field Training is a great example of a term known as “The Switch”. GMC cadets will here this term any number of times in their ROTC career. What “the switch” refers to is a training tactic. When “the switch” is “on”, it is game time. We are in a training environment and you are expected to be locked on in your actions, words, and attitudes. On the other hand, when we as trainers turn “the switch off”, you as trainees can relax to a certain extent.

    The point is, with the exception of myself, most POC are relatively nice people outside of LLAB. When we are not training you, you can come up and talk to us around campus or in the gym. If you have a question, ask it! We are here to help you as you train to become Air Force officers. Remember, a year or two ago, we were in your exact same position, so we know how it feels. 

    So next time you see one of us around campus during the week, don’t walk 100 yards out of your way just to avoid us or sit in the corner of the gym waiting for our backs to be turned so you can make a getaway. We are students just like you. Don’t be afraid of us when you see us, but get your airman on when it is time to roll.


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  • Applying Old Lessons In New Ways

    September 6, 2013
    Posted by AFROTC Public Affairs Officer
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    By Cadet Hartline

    Sunset Over Afghanistan

    The transition from active duty to ROTC was a surprising one for me. While a lot of the “basics” were the same, I found that the culture, structure, and attitudes were often completely different. At first, it was a bit of a struggle for me to find ways to relate my past experiences to the ROTC program. I felt like I “knew” a lot of what people were trying to teach me, and I didn’t always see the point behind the training we were accomplishing. Eventually, I realized that ROTC isn’t just about learning “the basics” or marching, or even getting yelled at (as unbelievable as that may seem at times), but rather, it’s about the transformation from civilian to military; from follower to leader. In time, I found myself looking back at my past experiences and trying to see things through the perspective of the officers that I was serving with. Why did they make the decisions that they did? What were they thinking? What were they trying to accomplish?

    This new way of looking at things helped me realize that I was still going to be using lessons I learned a long time ago, but I was going to have to apply them in new ways. Being enlisted, I knew how to march, but now I was leading other people in marching. Before, I knew how to properly wear my uniform, but now I’m expected to wear it so well that I’m an example for others to follow. Where I was once expected to largely be a follower, I’m now expected to step out and be a leader. In many ways, the standards are simply higher now. The old lessons and ways of thinking certainly aren’t gone, but they’re definitely finding different ways for me to apply them.

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