• Being in Air Force ROTC has made me realize...

    April 2, 2013
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    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.

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  • The Best Officer's I know Do This...

    March 18, 2013
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    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.

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  • Top 20 Ways to Prepare for Field Training

    March 6, 2013
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    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.

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  • What is Diversity?

    March 6, 2013
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    By Cadet Alexander Cox

    I found it particularly interesting to read “Intolerable Tolerance” because I was able to compare my experiences in ROTC to the provided overview of socialization. As members of the Air Force, we are part of a unique organization, one whose purpose it is to protect America and its interests at a moment’s notice and without question. It is a frightening thing to think about the power that an organization such as ours has, not only in terms of the weapons we command but also the ability to shape the attitudes and beliefs of our trainees.

    “Socialization is the way our military takes immensely diverse and heterogeneous people from our population and recasts the as a single and homogenous type” (Lt. Col. Parco et al. 2012). The need for socialization stems from the reality that every service member is unique. If a more homogenous cross section of America were to represent the military’s recruits, the process of socialization would be less important. Yet this is where the strength of the Air Force lies. With great diversity comes an equally great selection of differing viewpoints and skillsets. This is what allows the military to fill the vast selection of jobs with capable soldiers. As seen in “Pearls before breakfast”, an astonishing number of people with an equally astonishing diversity of backgrounds passed by a world famous violinist masquerading as a street musician. Yet only a handful recognized his talent for what it was. The lack of optimal viewing conditions aside, this example is representative of the benefits of diversity. A more homogeneous slice of population may have had not a single person stop and listen; It took a wide range of backgrounds to recognize Joshua Bell for what he was. It is no stretch to compare this to a possible scenario in the military. What can go unnoticed by many may be very important, and a wide selection of backgrounds and skill sets ensures that is statistically unlikely to happen.

    I feel I would be doing the concept of diversity an injustice if I didn’t touch on the role it will have in the future. As our military grinds into the 21st century, I believe the focus should be less on promoting diversity, and more on how to properly socialize incoming recruits. This is the basic point that “Intolerable Tolerance” presents. Simply tolerating differences is not the key to maximizing our effectiveness as an organization. Proposing that we move away from discrimination as an organization is not the correct course of action either. The point that “discriminating judgments are useful only when they are tied to some level of performance” (Lt. Col. Parco et al. 2012), must be stressed.  If the proper values and attitudes can be instilled during training, toleration becomes superfluous. We are a merit based organization; the only thing that matters is one’s ability to perform a job. For our military to truly advance into a different age, a shift in thinking has to occur.

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  • Can you Ever Be Too Prepared for Field Training???

    February 26, 2013
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    By Cadet Matt Chodzko

    It is a warm Friday morning and you are exhausted because of the lack of sleep you had the night before. Did you stay up too late? No, your mind was having trouble winding down because you knew you would be sleeping in a new bed, in a room full of strangers. When you hug your family good bye at the front of the airport, and they pull away, the realization of Field Training comes to life. Your orders tell you that you be spending twenty-eight days at Maxwell AFB, Alabama. The Air Force will be taking the time to evaluate your leadership experience, to see if you should be retained into the Professional Officer Corps.

    On the flight down south, not a single fellow cadet is reclined in their chair listening to their MP3 player. Everyone is sitting with some form of either their Airman’s Manual (AM) or Field Training Manual (FTM) open on their tray tables in front of them. Why do they need to study more now? Did they not study days even months ahead of time? To many cadets, it did not matter that they had already studied prior to their departure. They wanted to be sure that they could recite all the knowledge in the manuals.

    One thing I wish I had known is why am I being evaluated on how well I know the AM or FTM. I realize now that it was about far more than a test of my memory, but it was a test of my resolve. They want to see your attention to detail, your ability to make decisions. If we approach Field Training as we would the Air Force, we would quickly realize that being too prepared is like saying that the 30mm canon on the nose of the A-10 is too big; it just does not make a whole heap of sense. Poor preparation prevents proper performance, and if you try to learn the FTM while at Maxwell, you will realize that it will be difficult to perform well in other areas. If you are not physically up to standards, you will be losing your French Toast in the Dojo and losing your fights.

    If you find yourself settling and saying to yourself “I’m prepared enough,” it is time to be honest and give yourself a self-evaluation. Nobody is perfect, but you have to realize that no one in their right mind has ever said “I wish I wasn’t so prepared.” Rather we have been taught that we are expected to pursue excellence in all we do. The key may not be to achieve excellence, but striving to be better. If you chase after excellence, if you make it your goal, then you can in fact never be too prepared for Field Training.

    dscn1295

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  • Leading Your Peers: Easy or Hard?

    February 18, 2013
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    By Cadet Aaron Lewis

    Air Force ROTC is an interesting experience. You go in as an AS100, knowing nothing, following every order given to you and not giving much thought as to why you’re doing it. Then along comes your AS200 year and all of a sudden you’re expected not only to follow, as you did during your first year, but now you are put in increasing leadership roles, and it’s your peers who must follow your orders. The same people you go to school with and hold the same rank as yourself, are now expected to carry out your commands. Is it difficult? Is it hard to lead your peers?

    When I was at Field Training, my very first leadership role was Squadron Commander at JFTC. It was my duty to lead a group of about 50 cadets in order to carry out the duties of the day. Prior to my appointment to this position, our Squadron was late on just about every suspense. We were running into tents, and calling the wrong commands. Once I was in charge, not only were we arriving at our destinations earlier, we were one of the best performing squadrons. At this point in the story, I would say that it is very easy to lead your peers, but the story isn’t over yet.

    It was later that we had what you call a “hot seat” exercise. Telling everyone in the flight what we didn’t like about each other. What was the biggest complaint about me? I was told that I was giving commands in the same manner as would a CTA. We were accomplishing our mission, yes. But I had lost the respect of my flight in the process. Things changed after that and CTA Lewis never came out again to lead the flight, and we still made every suspense.

    Now back to the original question, is it easy or hard to lead your peers? In my opinion, it is easier to direct your peers than to lead them. Leadership requires respect and the ability to connect with those under you and give them a purpose for carrying out a mission. Anyone can bark out orders and get things done, but it takes a true leader to do it without losing the respect of those around you. Once you are able to make that connection and give that purpose, leading your peers, is a piece of cake.

    Cake, now there’s something that would have been nice at Field Training!

    pic-2-r6mC/Aaron Lewis

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  • Mil Ball: Like Prom, but Cooler!

    February 18, 2013
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    By Cadet Sarah Shewell

    Mil Ball. That one day each February when we get all dressed up, have a nice meal, and make awkward conversation for a few hours.

    Sounds a lot like prom right? You meet up beforehand to take photos of yourself looking good. You dust off your best manners to impress your date. You take part in all the traditions. All your friends are cooler than everyone else there, and you spend half the night telling everyone so. And at some point you get a lecture from an adult telling you how to run your life.

    However, the military ball is so much better than any prom I ever went to. You get to dress up in a military uniform that you can feel good in. You have earned an exclusive right to wear it. You get to represent the Air Force to both our sister branch, the Army, and the public. Everyone who sees you in that uniform, knows that you stand for so much more now than you did as a high school student.

    At mil ball, you get to see traditions that matter. It’s not the traditions of skipping class or going to the basketball game or meeting friends hours before to do hair. You get to see the posting and retiring of the colors, the receiving line, the saber arch, and the POW/MIA table. Each of these traditions has meaning and history important to the Air Force culture you are now a part of. And that inevitable speech leaves you feeling better about yourself and how you can continue to get better.

    By the end of the night, Mil Ball 2013 may not have left you with the crazy memories of prom night. Everyone jokes, myself included, that mil ball is a snooze fest filled with talking about the weather and uncomfortable clothing. However, I always leave mil ball feeling better than I ever left prom. I leave loving the Air Force, Detachment 207, and all the people I’ve decided to work with.

    For me, it’s moments like when we belted out the Airman’s Creed after it was nearly skipped (Thank you, Col. Dyke), that make mil balls mean so much more to me than prom. That was cool. That was a memory. I’m so happy to have left my prom days behind and to have more nights like last Friday to look forward to.

    Plus, there’s no more having to dance to  “Don’t Stop Believin’”!

    millball9Cadets at Mil Ball

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  • Success in ROTC...

    February 12, 2013
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    By Cadet Brian Sullivan

    Success in AFROTC depends upon how committed and motivated you are, along with goal setting. The road to becoming an officer in the world’s best Air Force is long and challenging.

    The two verbs above go hand in hand, so if you are motivated to do well in AFROTC, you are committing yourself to study hard and perform well. Setting goals helps you stay motivated and committed to doing well in AFROTC. Some outsiders view AFROTC as a silly organization or extracurricular class taken for enjoyment. Their perspective, however, is far from correct. AFROTC is both physically and mentally challenging and this is where commitment and motivation will be beneficial. The physical standards are tough, especially if you want to compete for scholarships or rated positions. The best thing to do is create a workout plan outside of AFROTC and stay committed to it. Also set a goal of how well you want to perform on the PFA to stay motivated. Academic standards are also tough as there is a significant amount of warrior knowledge that must be memorized. Committing a few minutes of study time every night and setting a goal of achieving at least a 95% on all quizzes will definitely keep you motivated.

    Commitment, motivation, and goal setting will make you very successful in AFROTC as long as you stick with it. They will provide the foundation for your development of desirable traits and characteristics in becoming an officer. The ultimate goal is to become a second lieutenant in the US Air Force. Having many sub-goals along the way will keep you committed to performing the duties to get there as well as maintaining your motivation.

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  • The Path Lies Before Us...

    February 4, 2013
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    By Cadet Cameron Petrie

    As the military ball approaches, anticipation is growing around the Detachment as cadets anxiously await enrollment allocations to Field Training, rated positions and active duty dates. In just a few short weeks many of our lives will be changed forever and it is important to stay focused and remember just exactly what is important. 

    For me personally, this time last year was one of the more nerve-wracking times of my life. I had heard from other friends at Detachments around the country that rated positions were out a few days prior to the military ball and despite my best begging, pleading and bribery, then Detachment commander, Col Hargis was having none of it. It was hard to fathom that an entire lifetimes worth of dreams were going to be decided by a group of strangers I had never met. The Colonel pulled all of the applicants aside at the end of the ball and instructed each of us to open a letter that was given to us earlier in the night. The letter contained our rated positions and even though it was exactly the answer I wanted, it didn’t really mean anything. You see, upon receiving your jobs, you still have to pass a physical; one of the more rigorous physicals you will ever endure. This thought had not quite occurred to me, and again, last August, I found myself in the same anxious state sitting in a flight surgeons room at Wright-Patterson AFB awaiting my physical results. As I waited for the Doc to come and give me the good or bad news, I started pouring over all of the things from my childhood to now that could have effected my chances of being a pilot. Every time I fell off my bike or hit I took in a hockey game could have potentially ended my career before it had even began. 

    The point I am trying to make is this - there are always going to be goals and finish lines that you are trying to achieve in life, and as soon as you reach them, something else is going to be waiting beyond that. Chuck Palahniuk wrote in his book Choke, “The feeling is less like an ending and more like another starting point.” That’s the way we all need to approach these milestones. In the end, we still have a job to do, whether it be training the GMC or beginning our careers as officers. I am a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. You may not know what that reason is right away, but looking back in five years you will see that everything that needed to happen to get you to that point will have happened. Do not let an EA a job or a date define you, as it is not your end, but the start to your next beginning. 

    Receiving Rated PositionsReceiving Rated Positions, Mil Ball 2012

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  • Make a Plan. Stick to it.

    February 4, 2013
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    By Cadet Andrew Lewis

    When you start college, take on a job and make a decision to commit to ROTC it suddenly becomes apparent that you no longer have free time. I’ve found myself looking back on my High School days when I thought I “had no time” realizing I actually had tons of time on my hands. It’s funny how that works. So on top of all these commitments and a general lack of time you also have to take into consideration what every Cadet has to do, every semester… the PFA. And more so than that we just need to stay in shape and be healthy.

    Everyone’s heard it… PT-ing twice a week won’t get you ready for a PFA and it certainly won’t get you in shape, but with as little free time as we all have and as difficult as it may be to drag ourselves to the gym at times, how do we keep on track with our personal PT schedules? Being a cross town Cadet, and no longer having the option of organized PT at SIUE I had to make a choice. I have an option. I don’t have to plan my classes to a particular schedule to afford myself a particular slot to do PT in. However, what I do have to do, and this is the most important thing I want anyone to get out of this, is know my own schedule. That is the key, know what your schedule is, find that free block of time and devote it to PT.

    So what this means is if you only have an hour free at 0500 in the morning you had better get yourself to the gym at that time. This commitment is on you! If you normally workout at a certain time in the evening, you can’t let a spur of the moment invite to go out with your friends interfere with that. Your responsibility to stay in shape is more than for yourself; it is for the Air Force. We have to be fit to fight! So if you are doing personal workouts as either a cross-town or now SLU commuters who are treated the same, that means 1 hour, 4 times a week minimum. Plan those times and make that something that you will not allow anything else to interrupt.

    Something that I’ve found to help myself and I recommend it to you is, to set those times to an alarm on your phone. That way you have a constant reminder in case you do forget your workout schedule. That at least accounts for human error.

    I’ve been doing this personal workout system for two years now and in all I’ve found it to be relatively easy to stick to. As long as I know when I’m working out I can always make sure to do it. Everyone has their own method of working out and it is up to that person to decide whether they feel more comfortable doing personal workouts or PT sessions. As I say this, just realize even if you are working out at formal PT sessions you still need to incorporate your own supplemental workout plan.

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