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Entry Into The United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, Fall of 2009

Updated: Dec 26, 2021


Good morning, I hope that this post finds you well. I was raised primarily in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and because Colorado Springs is host to the United States Air Force Academy my family and I attended the Air Force Academy graduation ceremony every year. As a result of growing up in Colorado Springs I engendered a fascination with flight at a young age and I spent much of my youth aspiring to lead men and women as an officer of the United States Air Force when I grew up.


‘Service Before Self’ is the central Core Value of the United States Air Force, and this guiding doctrine describes my entry into the Reserve Officer Training Corps detachment at the University of Miami in the fall of 2009. While I was a student studying aerospace engineering at a nearby community college, I was graciously admitted to take part in the training at the University of Miami on the condition that the training activities did not interfere with my class schedule.


The military experience within the Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 155 at the University of Miami was different than the indoctrination into any other organization or business I had yet then been a part of: honor, service to others, and excellence was expected and developed.


For example, if during a group run a cadet was the first to finish, it would be expected that this first cadet would then immediately circle around to the end of the line where the last cadet was finishing the race in order to encourage that cadet to the finish line. While individual excellence was of great importance, a specific individual’s value within the detachment was related to his or her capacity to contribute to the overall performance of the team as opposed to merely his or her being the fastest or achieving the best grades. This was a mindset that I would take with me into my future endeavors, and I was fortunate to find a group of individuals whose common ideology fit well with the sort of man I wanted to develop myself into.


I committed myself wholly to the pursuit of a commission as an officer of the United States Armed Forces, and I became a student leader in the honorary ‘Arnold Air Society,’ which hosted volunteer community service events in Miami such as beach cleanup days. On many Saturday afternoons between the fall of 2009 and the spring of 2011 we would travel to Virginia Key beach both to clean up the park and to conduct physical training.


Each Friday morning during my first semester of training, I would memorize military leadership quotes to be recited during weekly ‘leadership laboratory’ tests, and in November of 2009 I was humbled when the detachment commander, Lieutenant Colonel Theo Theodor, reached out to me in order to inform me that I fortunately earned a competitive full tuition scholarship to study aerospace engineering at the University of Miami on the basis of my performance. Of the 60 cadets who were then enrolled within the detachment, I was the only cadet to be offered such a scholarship in that semester.


From that first exposure of training, I was certain of my career choice as an officer in the armed forces of the United States. I wanted to ensure that Airmen and their families were well-supported in service to our national defense.


Thank you for your time in reading this post and please have a good day. Sincerely,

Winston



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