Air Force ROTC News

By Cadet Sydney Tinker ’20

This past year has been an extremely rigorous but rewarding time for Air Force ROTC Detachment 875.

This semester our wing commander, Cadet John Gogal ’18, challenged the wing to achieve an average of a 97 on the physical fitness assessment taken in February. The wing proved itself by scoring a 96.1 which ranked us fifth out of 145 detachments across the nation, even though we are the sixth largest detachment in the country!

Cadets Kavlin Yuan ’21, Justin Clipson ’20, and Antonio Marrero ’19 carry Cadet Logan Zook ’17 on a stretcher during training.
Cadets Kavlin Yuan ’21, Justin Clipson ’20, and Antonio Marrero ’19 carry Cadet Logan Zook ’17 during the self aid buddy care exercise at the spring Air Force Training Exercise.

In addition, Detachment 875 was honored to have Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright speak to the cadets about the future of the Air Force. We have had an amazing opportunity this year to hear from many other outstanding speakers including, Gen. Carlton D. Everhart II ’83, Brig. Gen. Billy D. Thompson, and Brig. Gen. Stephen L. Davis.

Also, the cadets organized two major training events, Warrior Day and Air Force Training Exercise, the second being a two-day event at the nearby Radford Army Ammunition Plant. Both events were very successful, and the dedicated efforts of the upperclassmen have made sure the current sophomore class is ready to head to field training this summer and show the rest of the country that Detachment 875 is the best alive!

To wrap up the year, the detachment held a Combat Dining In underneath Lane Stadium, making a hanger-like atmosphere for this fun morale event. We were honored to have Air Force Lt. Col. Don Russell (retired), the Corps of Cadets’ Citizen-Leader Track deputy commandant, as our guest speaker.

Thanks to the support of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Detachment 875 was able to send cadets to an array of leadership conferences at the Citadel, the Air Force Academy, the Virginia Military Institute, and the U.S. Naval Academy. These conferences allow our cadets the opportunity to hear from influential speakers, including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Vice President Dick Cheney, and many more.

In addition, 10 cadets were able to attend the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida, where they were able to hear the latest updates from the chief of staff of the Air Force, the secretary of the Air Force, as well as the commanders from multiple major commands. Finally, six cadets were able to represent our local Thomas C. Richards Squadron at the Arnold Air Society National Convention in New Orleans.

Cadet Matthew Mumbach ’18 attempts to ride the mechanical shark during the annual Air Force Dining-In.
Cadet Matthew Mumbach ’18 attempts to ride the mechanical shark during the annual Air Force Dining-In.

This year Detachment 875 commissioned 41 cadets. This exceptional group of individuals have worked diligently for this day. Cadet Michael Magill ’18 was selected for Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training, Cadet Michael Sherburne ’17 and Cadet Kavi Muraleetharan ’17 were selected for graduate school at the Air Force Institute of Technology.

Cadet Mary Claire Ragan ’18 was accepted into the Judge Advocate General’s Corps Education Delay program. This is an incredibly rare opportunity that only five cadets in the country earned. She will be attending law school after graduation. 

As this year came to a close, we said a hard goodbye to many cadre members at Detachment 875, including Col. Cameron Torrens, Lt. Col. Rob Ward, and Capt. Saira McGan.

Torrens is retiring from the Air Force after 30 years of service and is currently enjoying his transition to retirement by hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Ward will be retiring as well after 25 years of service in the operations field. He’s not exactly sure what he’s going to do when he retires, but says, “I’m ready to figure out what I want to do when I grow up,” which he says could be anything from writing a mystery novel to helping with JROTC.

After serving with Detachment 875 for three years, McGan will be leaving to continue her logistics career in South Dakota at Ellsworth Air Force Base. She is primarily excited to “be around airmen again and to have a direct impact on the mission overseas.” Detachment 875 has taught her about teaching and the new generation of airman coming into the Air Force.

McGan leaves the cadets at Detachment 875 with one piece of advice before departing, “Take care of your airmen, and they will take care of you.” 

Cadets Rebecca Leonard ’18,  Jonathan Martell ’20, and Brandon Tull ’18 present Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright with an appreciation gift from Detachment 875.
Cadets Rebecca Leonard ’18, Jonathan Martell ’20, and Brandon Tull ’18 present Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright with an appreciation gift from Detachment 875.