Summer 2017 Corps Review | Back
By Cadet Mary Claire Ragan ’18
The end of the spring semester also marked the beginning of a new chapter for many cadets. Whether it is going through summer training, experiencing travel abroad, or transitioning from ROTC to the operational Air Force, there’s a lot to prepare for during the spring.
Despite the anticipation for what the end of the school year brings, the cadets at Detachment 875 have continued to work tirelessly to find and create opportunities to better themselves as wingmen, leaders, and warriors. Through community involvement, personal projects, and training preparation, Detachment 875 sets the bar high as the best alive!
The cadet wing used physical training (PT) and leadership lab to boost community involvement, adding a creative element to the typical training schedule. Detachment 875 has a distinct advantage of being placed in a campus that takes pride in the support given throughout the community. Cadet leadership in Air Force ROTC reaches out to sports teams, on-campus organizations, and even local businesses to exchange support and supplement training.
During PT this semester, guest workouts were created to get in touch with sports teams and local gyms to enhance physical fitness. One workout included an early morning trip to the pool with the Virginia Tech women’s water polo team, teaching cadets new skills in the water and a new understanding of an intense sport. Another guest workout included trainers from the Crossfit 460 gym teaching and implementing new techniques for workouts to be used both in and out of PT.
In leadership lab, cadets received a special visit from the ROTC commander for the Southwest Region, Col. Kenneth Backes. Not only did the colonel give insight to how the Air Force is changing and the trajectory of the ROTC program, he also imparted advice for soon-to-be second lieutenants.
The talent of the wing isn’t always seen through numbers and percentages, but by the personal efforts put forth by cadets. This semester, Cadet Jared Ohashi ’18, was tasked with a seemingly simple task of coordinating a picture of the entire wing. However, being a part of the best alive, Ohashi used meticulous and strategic planning to not only create a timeless photo, but a blueprint to pass onto to other detachments. When asked about the method used for the success of this project, Ohashi simply replied, “Math … and a lot of it.”
Ohashi walked through the steps of how he was able to transform a patch onto the Drillfield and cadets into the Air Force symbol. Combining ratios and angels gathered from Google Earth images with a protractor, ruler, calculator, and then some paint to direct cadets where to go, it would seem like the math would allow things to fall into place — still, the planning doesn’t stop there.
To capture the recreation of the Air Force symbol, Ohashi planned to make use of a drone. However, Ohashi recalls it being, “a nightmare to get permission” just to use the drone for an aerial photo shoot. With the help of Cadet Jordan Wirth ’18, he was able to get approval from the Virginia Tech Police Department, Housing and Residence Life, and even the Federal Aviation Administration for the drone’s flight path! By the end of the tedious project, Ohashi not only delivered a flawlessly executed plan, but also a formula to pass on to other cadets. The work exemplified the wingmanship and excellence instilled in the Detachment 875 cadets. We do in fact lead the way by earning both the top PT and grade-point average ranking among senior military colleges so the numbers match the talent!
Whether you know it as field training or you’re beginning to understand it as Leadership Evaluation, and Development (LEAD), the challenge set before many AS200s/250s this upcoming summer is no easy task. Thankfully, Detachment 875 works hard to ensure that cadets are prepared to succeed at arguably the most important milestone on the road to commissioning. Spearheaded and coordinated by Cadet Mike D’Avella ’18, the cadets bound for LEAD traveled to the Virginia Military Institute for a joint training day with other Virginia ROTC’s to prepare for the challenges at LEAD. Throughout the day, the cadets put their LEAD prep to the test. They marched from station to station throughout VMI’s campus leading and helping each other throughout each problem. The first half of the day consisted of group leadership problems, the Leadership Reaction Course, obstacle course challenges, and even an introduction to weapon safety. After getting a taste for both dining facility procedures and VMI’s mess hall, the cadets marched to the next set of obstacles. The rest of the day included dorm maintenance, interviews and LEAD knowledge, inspections, and drill evaluation. To top off the motivational day of training, cadets performed a wing formation run right before debriefing and heading home. When reflecting on this training opportunity, Cadet Ashley Marshall ’20 noted that, “Going in, I thought I would be knowledgeable, but it was a definite eye-opener. It was run well and very beneficial.” Here’s to hoping the extra training day will pay off this summer!
On top of this one-day event, the LEAD preparation staff led by Cadet Matthew Mumbach ’18, held one to two early morning training sessions each week of the semester, truly demonstrating their desire to give back and help prepare their fellow cadets for this critical part of their training.
Another semester and another school year finishes up, and Detachment 875 prepares for the next chapter of challenges. With a banquet, countless service projects, a Warrior Day, and 43 commissions administered in May, the semester proved to be a memorable and eventful one. As wingmen, leaders, and warriors, Detachment 875 will continue to be the best alive!