The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US Government, Department of Defense, US Air Force, Air Force ROTC, Southern Illinois University, Southeast Missouri State University, or John A. Logan College.
By: Lieutenant Colonel
Craig Hansen With the fall semester now well underway, I think it’s time for one last “Welcome!” to all our returning and new cadets. The 2015-16 academic year promises to be an exciting and productive one for our detachment. We began the fall term with approximately 95 enrolled cadets and new applicants, and we currently stand at approximately 80. On the whole, the cadet wing is about 15% larger than it was at this point last year.
This past summer was rather busy for both cadre and cadets. Three cadre members supported AFROTC field training at Maxell AFB AL and Camp Shelby MS, and 13 cadets all successfully completed this significant milestone on the path to commissioning. Two cadre members received the Air Force Achievement Medal for their contributions to the Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) phase of field training, while the cadets brought home Distinguished Graduate and Superior Performance awards. In addition, Soaring Warrior cadets received multiple recommendations to return next summer as Cadet Training Assistants (CTAs), as well as one award for expert marksmanship.
While many of our cadre and cadets were busy with the challenges of field training, other cadets were experiencing day-to-day life in the operational Air Force through their participation in OPERATION AIR FORCE; a professional development training program designed to expose General Military Course (GMC) cadets to the many facets of daily life on an Air Force base. One cadet even spent a part of the summer in Beijing as a participant in an Air Force-sponsored language immersion program. Finally, we had one cadet attend the Expeditionary Survival & Evasion Training (ESET) program at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs CO.
All-in-all…this was a busy summer for both our cadets and cadre. I extend my thanks to all of you for conducting yourselves in a safe manner so that you may continue (or begin) your training here at the detachment.
In this edition of the Soaring Warrior, you will hear—in greater detail—about some of the exciting and interesting activities described above. While for most cadets, summer is a welcome reprieve from the demands of academia and military training, these events serve to remind us all that the Air Force is a 24/7, 365, coast-to-coast and around-the-world operation that never stops and never sleeps. So too is our individual and collective commitment to prepare the next generation of officers to lead our Air Force into the future. That resolve—to prepare now for leadership in an uncertain and increasingly complex world—must be fed and nurtured daily if you are to succeed in your quest to serve as an officer and leader in the United States Air Force.
Welcome to the Cadet Wing!
By: Cadet Kinsey Richmond Greetings, readers, and welcome to the Detachment 205 Cadet Wing! I am Cadet Colonel Kinsey Richmond, and I am the Fall 2015 semester’s Cadet Wing Commander. The detachment is up and running, making great strides early in the semester, and I am very excited to see the progress we make throughout the next twelve weeks. With that in mind, I have high expectations of everyone’s performance. Not to worry, though; I am confident this cadet wing will strive for greatness and accomplish amazing things!
Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is an excellent program to be a part of. Not only does this program give you the tools and knowledge to commission as an officer for the United States Air Force, but it also teaches cadets valuable skills such as time management, professionalism, and leadership traits that can be applied any situation in life. AFROTC also offers numerous opportunities for cadets to meet new people, interact with the community and other organizations, and develop great friendships along the way. There is certainly a lot to learn in your time in AFROTC, but with dedication, discipline and the help of those around you, this will not be a hard task.
The Cadet Wing has already hit the ground running. As the semester moves on, the intensity will only increase, and expectations will rise. Therefore, motivation and teamwork is crucial to the success of the wing; keep a positive attitude, and you are well on your way to success. Push your wingmen to work hard, and maintain self-discipline to ensure excellence in all we do. At the same time, ensure you are taking care of yourself. Do not be afraid to ask for help when needed, and always ask questions. If you are not sure about something, most likely someone else is thinking the same thing.
Once again, welcome to the detachment! I look forward to working with each and every one of you this semester. Keep giving your all in everything you do, and I cannot wait to see the awesome achievements of our cadets and the greatness this detachment has to offer!
By: Major Patrick Marsh Cadets, I hope this letter finds you well. All is well in Afghanistan. I completed my last OTW (outside-the-wire) mission last week; it was my 83rd since arriving here in late March. I spent a lot of time in a gunner’s turret with a fully loaded M-240 at the ready. I also spent a lot time driving a MATV and commanding convoys.
The type of work that NATO has asked me to do here is way outside of my normal duties. As you are well aware, I am not doing nuclear ops, nuclear warfare planning, or teaching officer courses in Afghanistan. And yet, I have all the tools I need to complete the work here. During my career in the Air Force, I have picked up the abilities to communicate effectively, problem-solve, and most importantly—make decisions. These are the things that all US military officers need to be able to do, and they are the skills we hope to instill in you so that you are prepared for your first day as a USAF 2d Lt.
When I arrived I was thrown into two very different jobs. The first was “staff officer” work. This consists of using the Microsoft Office arsenal of Excel, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Exciting stuff! The second job was of course on the drive team. Although the two jobs were very different, they both relied on communication, problem-solving, and decision-making.
I encourage you to take on each task and challenge that you face with these skills in mind. Communicate to determine if you understand what needs to be done. Communicate with teammates, subordinates, and superiors to ensure everyone is working together. Then think and plan out what needs to be done, continuing to communicate. Then execute, making decisions throughout the process and leading to task accomplishment.
I look forward to seeing each of you and meeting the new cadets. Thank you for being willing to give back to your country--work hard so we can help you make that a reality.
Technical Sergeant Leo Morales What motivated you to join the USAF?
My uncle had actually inspired and motivated me to enlist in the USAF. He wanted me to continue the tradition of having a service member in the family. I didn’t really have anything going on after I graduated high school so I went with my uncle to schedule a meeting with our local USAF Recruiter. As with everything in my life when I initially set a goal, I'll definitely see it through that I complete it. I pretty much treated enlisting in the Air Force as a personal goal at the time. I got through basic training, technical training, first duty station, second duty station, etc.... I've just been setting goals and achieving them throughout my whole career. So, here I am 15 years in the service and I'm still setting goals and achieving them. Wow! Time flies by so fast.
Tell us about your career in the Air Force so far.
I began my Air Force career as a Refueling Vehicle Mechanic. It was my job to ensure that all refueling vehicles are always maintained to mission ready status. I have worked on numerous engine, chassis and fuel pumping system issues. Afterwards, my job (Air Force Specialty Code) had been identified as over manned so I had no choice but to re-train into another career field or separate from Air Force. I had initially decided to separate because it seemed like my career job reservation was never going to be reinstated and that I didn’t have enough time to get my retraining package approved. However, my supervisor at that time refused to give up on me and made some phone calls to the Air Force Personnel Center until eventually I was approved to retrain to the Personnel career field where I was placed in charge of different personnel functions at the MPS (Military Personnel Section). I have worked in the reenlistments office, outbound assignments office and enlisted promotions office. Additionally, I have also worked at the Air Force Recruiting Squadron Headquarters as the non-commissioned officer in charge of personnel section.
What are some important lessons you have learned with your time in the Air Force so far?
I have learned that it is very hard to please everybody. Regardless of what you do in life there will always be someone that will doubt your ability. Pay no attention to these distractors and focus on the task at hand. As long as you know for a fact that you did your best then the rest should fall into place.
Congratulations on being a Master Sergeant Select! Putting on Master Sergeant next year, what were the steps you had to take for that promotion and what will be expected of you compared to your previous rank of Technical Sergeant?
Thank you. Ultimately, an Airman gets promoted based on their overall performance, decorations received, written examinations and board standing/scores throughout their career. I was very lucky to have worked with outstanding supervisors, leaders and commanders that provided me with the leadership and mentorship that shaped me into what I am today. As I had mentioned earlier, as long as you did your best, everything else will fall into place. This is exactly what happened to me as I pretty much let the records do the talking when my records went to the promotion board. The expectations should still be the same for the most part as I am still working in an NCO capacity. My mission is still the same and that is to provide “Top Notch” service and mentorship to our AFROTC Cadets.
Any words of encouragement for future Airmen entering the Operational Air Force?
Once you commission as an officer in the United States Air Force and arrive at you next duty station, you will definitely inherit unit programs from your predecessor. We all start at a level where we don’t exactly know what is going on. However, it’s going to be up to you whether you sink with your unit programs or swim. Take ownership of it and make sure that you consult the subject matter experts on how to run your program. Be relentless! Take a page from everyone’s book and tailor it to your needs. Keep that fire burning, keep that desire going! The quest to be a better person than you were yesterday never ends. Set realistic goals and achieve them. Don’t do a good job, do a great job. Live your life based on the Air Force core values.
At the end of the day, everything will fall into place so sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Attitude equals altitude!!!
My Field Training Experience:
Cadet Allison Woodfin
What were your initial thoughts upon arrival? I had a million thoughts running through my head at once during this time, but the main one was, “why am I even here?” I knew, once I got off that bus that I wouldn’t get back on it as the same person.
How did you learn to adapt? I learned to let the yelling go in one ear in out the other, and simply process what they were trying to tell me, instead of dwelling on the fact that they were raising their voice. The missions that they tasked us with were not the most difficult part about FT to adjust to, but instead working through the stress they put us under while we executed the mission. We fed off of each other and knowing that we were all enduring the same thing helped us all to persevere.
Most memorable moment from FT? The day we received our prop and wings. We all ran to the prop and wings statue, gave our reasoning to Col. Bigger why we are worthy to enter the POC, and received our prop and wings. From then on, we were treated like POC by the FT staff.
What did you do to combat stress? I made sure to take time out of my day when I could to just sit and think about anything other than what I was doing. Being locked on 24/7 was extremely hard to do, so I made sure I wasn’t. I would write my family and reread letters I received. During JFTC, we had plenty of personal time, so to keep my mind off of the stress, I would spend time with my flight, getting to know them better.
Any words of advice for the 200s? Don’t be afraid to take risks now. Stand out as much as you can, because that’s how you thrive at FT; hiding in the shadows will get you nowhere.