Air Force ROTC News
By Cadet Caitlin Godsey ’21
The spring semester presented cadets with more leadership opportunities, learning experiences, and unique challenges than ever before because of COVID-19.
Imposed safety regulations postponed or canceled numerous annual events, including Combat Dining-In, Air Force Training Experience, Virginia Military Academy Day, and all graduation ceremonies. Despite the new normal, cadets remained focused on their academics, leadership development, and representing Detachment 875 within social distancing parameters set forth around the country.
Among the major accomplishments reached by each group of hard-working cadets, the Class of 2020 graduated and commissioned 44 cadets as second lieutenants into various career fields in the U.S. Air Force.
After the Rated Selection Board, 21 cadets from the Class of 2021 were chosen for pilot, combat systems officer, remotely piloted aircraft, and air battle manager slots. Plus 49 cadets of the Class of 2022 were selected to attend field training and will be traveling to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, for leadership evaluation.
Overall, the detachment remains in high standing across the nation through the hard work and determination of every cadet.
National detachment rankings include 68th of 145 units for grade-point average and ninth for the Physical Fitness Assessment. The wing’s current Physical Fitness Assessment average is 95.7 out of 100.
Some cadets attended leadership development opportunities around the country.
Cadet Andrew Bonavita ’21 participated in the U.S. Air Force Academy Exchange Program during the fall 2019 semester. He shared, “Going on exchange to the Air Force Academy was an incredible experience for me. In addition to living as a normal cadet there, I was also able to participate in their Soaring and Space programs. By far the biggest thing I could take away from my exchange semester was all of the people I met, and the relationships I developed are what I will treasure the most from my time at the Air Force Academy.”
Cadet Angela Clay ’21 attended the National Character and Leadership Symposium in Colorado. She said, “It was an exciting and educational experience. We listened to many speakers, but my favorite was Ishmael Beah, who inspired me to make the best out of any situation and keep smiling no matter what.”
Lt. Col. Barry Burton accompanied nine cadets to the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida. Cadet Grace Hall ’21 shared, “If the Air Force were a pool, this event certainly threw me in the deep end. It was an inspiration to meet the only female four star general currently in the United States military and to hear Elon Musk, among many others, speak on the future of the Air Force. This was an experience I am not soon to forget.”
Additionally, Djamila Lou ’19 will be participating in the Air Force Institute of Technology’s Graduate Scholars Program, where she will pursue a Ph.D. in material science and engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, upon commissioning.
Spring semester of 2020, will never be forgotten.
Evan Miles ’20, wing commander, shared his thoughts, “This wing is full of exceptional officer candidates whose focus is on guiding their fellow cadets toward success in all realms of their lives and ultimately commissioning upon graduation. We lead by this mantra: ‘My individual success as a person and officer is solely determined by the time, effort, and passion I put forward toward the success of others.’ I have no doubt in my mind that our cadets will find success wherever they go in the Air Force because of how they live to this mantra. It has been an exciting semester and I am incredibly proud of such an incredible group of people. Aim High!”
Cadets agree that this semester was full of exciting experiences and leadership opportunities. The lessons learned will no doubt remain with us long after we have conquered obstacles created by COVID-19.
2021 Aviation Wall of Fame
Nominate a Virginia Tech alumnus for the 2021 Aviation Wall of Fame honors at af.vt.edu. The wall is a memorial recognizing Virginia Tech alumni who have distinguished themselves through contribution of service and sacrifice in the fields of aviation or aerospace.