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Air Force ROTC News

By Capt. Lucas Adams '14

 

Excellence Amidst a Pandemic

Air Force ROTC Detachment 875 was full of excitement when cadets returned to campus this fall, after the spring semester was cut short. The detachment welcomed a total of 88 new cadets to the ranks and a new cadre staff member, Maj. Scott Meskimen ’05, as the AS300 instructor and the wing operations officer.

While facing the challenge of training amidst a global pandemic, the main goal of Wing Commander Cadet Josh Stevic ’21 this semester was to “operate safely and carry out the mission.”

Through his resilient and innovative leadership, our 300 cadets have been able to meet this goal through small group leadership labs, technologicalization of orders, hybrid classes, physically distant PT, and adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

Stevic said the detachment’s success this fall was attributed to “our people” who “plan, execute, give it their best, and make it happen every day,” a fitting picture of the wingman mentality.

This unprecedented challenge has brought out the best in Detachment 875. Without hesitation, many cadets stepped up to help, using their strengths and skills to allow training to continue smoothly this semester.

Cadet Mark Norton ’21 created the detachment’s manning document for continuity for all positions in the wing.

Cadet Stephen Jones ’22 and Cadet Giavanna Angelo ’22 worked tirelessly to help create PT sessions that would comply with university and Corps guidelines, ensuring physical fitness standards will be maintained, and Cadet Vivian To ’23 made face masks during the personal protective equipment shortage.

Nothing will stop Detachment 875 from serving others and pursuing excellence in all that we do!

Air Force cadets do PT on the Drillfield with Burruss Hall in the background.
Silent PT to honor the 9/11 anniversary was conducted according to all safety guidelines and performed in silence to honor those who were lost. Photo by Cyrus Rodriguez ’23.

Summer Success

This summer looked very different for the detachment because of COVID-19 restrictions. However, our cadets were still able to continue their growth as leaders and learners through virtual and limited in-person opportunities. For example, Cadet Justin Sweat ’21 completed a virtual internship with the National Space Defense Center working with Space Advanced Concept Training.

Fourteen cadets graduated from field training this summer, with Cadets Henry Bergstol ’22, Margaret McConville ’22, Nicholas Sisson ’22, and Chris Widger ‘22 as distinguished graduates. These hard-working cadets represented Detachment 875 with pride as they completed this monumental step in their Air Force careers.

We also had two cadets, Ethan Miles ’21 and Casey Sutara ’21, return to field training as cadet training assistants. Unfortunately, COVID-19 greatly reduced capacity at field training, so we look forward to a safer future when 100 percent of our eligible cadets can attend and have their hard work pay off.

A field training group poses for a picture underneath a large American flag. Cadet Margaret McConville ’22  is at bottom left.
Cadet Margaret McConville ’22 (bottom left) at the completion of her field training.

Semester Accomplishments

The detachment was able to hold its own Air Force Marathon, which is usually a national event, on campus to allow cadets who had been training to complete the marathon and be recognized. We had three cadets complete the entire race and 11 complete the half marathon. The virtual marathon was made possible by the work of Cadets Jillian Haas ’23 and Michael Sabett ’23.

The detachment had the honor of holding a re-enlistment ceremony for Technical Sgt. DaVon McCoy, a memorable event our cadets normally do not experience until commissioning. Cadet Caleb Coleman ’21 worked tirelessly to make sure the event ran smoothly.

Throughout the semester, the detachment was able to offer many virtual professional development trainings for our cadets. Events offered included a JAG officer brief, summit on female leaders in the military, Air University Language and Culture Symposium, and more.

Detachment 875 is staying busy and safe this semester while continuing to excel in training every day.

In the words of Stevic, “If you are looking for a challenge, to push yourself, to grow into the leader that you can be, and to meet your potential, this is where you can do it; Detachment 875.”