Air Force ROTC's Sophomore Class

Daniel C. Sawicki, Capt, USAF, Asst Professor of Aerospace Studies, AFROTC Detachment 365

Many of the DUE staff may know of or may have seen Air Force ROTC cadets walking around campus in their uniforms on Tuesdays. What you do not see is how hard they have been training mentally and physically. In addition to the countless hours they spend studying, our cadets also put in at least another 5-10 hours a week doing Air Force ROTC classes, labs, and physical training. Recently, our cadets were ranked third in the country based on their physical fitness scores!! But I digress; I would like to take a moment to talk more specifically about MITs five sophomores in our program; Cadet Ben Deardorff, Cadet Chris Gerber, Cadet Tim Joubert, Cadet Jackson Prestwood, and Cadet Scott Skirlo.

AirForce ROTC Cadets

At the end of this school year they will have completed two years of Air Force ROTC training. This training is developed to prepare the cadets for Field Training. Field Training is four weeks long and is held at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. It is like boot camp except that instead of being told what to do they are given a schedule for the day and they lead each other through the day’s events. A typical day has them waking up at 4:00AM for physical training, inspections, teambuilding exercises, more physical training and lights out at 9:00PM. This is a stressful time for them as they are required to keep their military bearing at all times and have to march everywhere in the summer Alabama heat.

For two of the four weeks, they will all fly to Mississippi in a military aircraft. While in Mississippi they will receive training in land navigation, first aid, and weapons training just to name a few. This training is used to teach them valuable skills needed once they enter active duty as well as give them hands on experience on how to lead a group of people in a stressful situation.

Once they get back to MIT in the fall and start their junior year they will enter the Professional Officer Course. Additionally, if they are not already on scholarship they will start earning a monthly stipend of $450 a month. At this point they transition and become the leaders of the cadet wing. As leaders, it is now their responsibility to teach the underclassmen everything that they know so that the new sophomores are just as prepared for field training as they were.

Needless to say our sophomores have a lot on their minds. So, if you know Cadet Deardorff, Gerber, Joubert, Prestwood or Skirlo please wish them good luck this summer!