• The Switch

    September 17, 2013
    Posted by AFROTC Public Affairs Officer
    Share This

    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.


    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • Applying Old Lessons In New Ways

    September 6, 2013
    Posted by AFROTC Public Affairs Officer
    Share This

    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.

    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • There and Back Again, A Cadet's Tale

    July 5, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    By Cadet Scott Rupp

    “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” - 1st Lt Vanderhoof

    This is the overpowering message that cadets learn at Field Training. This training acts as one of many hurdles on the path to officership but often is the most daunting. For many cadets, it is the hardest 28 days they have ever experienced; facing high pressure, home sickness, and physical demands that are simply absent in everyday life. Cadets spend two years trying to prepare themselves and countless hours outside ROTC studying and practicing to be the best to enter the Professional Officer Course.  Current POC dedicate years on the other side of that wall trying to prepare cadets for the rigors they are about to under-go. A potentially misconstrued idea is that Field Training is meant to train cadets to be officers. This is not true. Field Training’s purpose is to prepare GMC for POC responsibilities which will lead to officership. No one is commissionable out of Field Training. Many cadets view Field Training as an end when in reality, that could not be farther from the truth. Field Training is just another beginning on a long string of events in life. The end is not commissioning, the end is not the promotion to a Cadet 1st Lieutenant or Cadet Captain, and the “end” never comes. All that cadets train for is the next step with the hope and understanding that everyone maintains their passion. Graduating from Field Training is one of the most outstanding things ROTC cadets can feel. The sense of accomplishment and camaraderie that accompanies such a large undertaking is simply outstanding. The key is to never lose motivation, never think you can go it alone, and never give up. This is the world’s best Air Force for a reason and it’s only getting better.


    Leave a Comment

  • Parting Shots from the Wing Commander

    May 9, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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!


    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • It's What You Make of It

    April 30, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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!!


    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • Cadre Ceremony

    April 21, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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!

    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • Opportunities are for Everyone

    April 16, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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.


    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • What I'm looking forward to on Active Duty...

    April 9, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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!!!


    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • To the Guard!

    April 5, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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:parksguard


    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment

  • Preparation...Confidence...

    April 2, 2013
    Posted by
    Share This

    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.

    Additional Resources

    Leave a Comment