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reserve-officer

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is one of the three commissioning sources for officers in the United States Air Force, the other two being the Air Force Academy and Officer Training School. It is the largest and oldest source of commissioned officers for the Air Force. AFROTC's mission is to produce quality leaders for the Air Force. AFROTC is located on 144 college and university campuses with 984 additional schools participating in cross-town agreements that allow their students to attend AFROTC classes a nearby host school. According to AFOATS HQ, in 2006, AFROTC commissioned 2,083 Second Lieutenants, with AFROTC enrollment ranging from 23,605 in 1985 to 10,231 in 1993, and around 13,000 enrolled today.

AFROTC units are called "detachments." Within the detachments the students are organized into wings, groups, squadrons, and flights, mirroring the active-duty wing structure. Furthermore, the cadet wing is separated into two divisions: General Military Course (GMC) consisting of the first two-years of training and the Professional Officer Course (POC) consisting of the last two-years of training.

General Military Course (AS100 and AS200)

The General Military Course (GMC) consists of cadets who have yet to satisfactorily complete their Field Training requirement, with the exception of certain deferred cadets. Generally these cadets are in their first 4 semesters of instruction. GMC cadets incur no obligation to the Air Force, unless awarded an Air Force scholarship. Cadets who are on scholarship are referred to as "contracted cadets." GMC cadets are usually the subordinates of the cadet wing, and have a primary focus of preparing for Field Training. The freshman cadets are the AS100s. The AS100 year is an introduction to the military where cadets are taught how to salute, wear their uniforms, march, and other military customs and courtesies. The second year of ROTC is AS200 where sophomores are prepared for Field Training in the summer. Some detachments do a full year of "Field Training Preparation" for the 200's, while others do FTP training in the spring semester only.

Detachments that utilize the entire FTP year for FTM (Field Training Manual) study make it easier for the cadets to assimilate the entirety of the information required of them at Field Training. The first semester is dedicated to learning the entire FTM and recitation of the information on-command. Training in the FTP year is a form of training called inoculation, which is designed to accommodate cadets to performing tasks under duress. This is accomplished by applying pressure, both psychologically and physically, and introducing the cadets to intentionally stressful situations in order to prepare them for the Field Training environment.

There is also a program which allows students who only have three years left of college to complete the program by compressing the AS 100 and AS 200 year into a single year. These cadets are know as AS 250's. There is also the STAR program which allows students to take only two years of the program, one as an AS 250 the other as a mix of AS 300/AS 400. They attend a 5-Week Field Training session (one week of purely Academics) rather than the normal 4-Week camp.

GMC cadets have set ranks. All AS 100's are C/4C (Cadet Fourth Class). All AS 200's are C/3C (Cadet Third Class). Some detachments assign leadership positions to GMC cadets that would normally be held by POC cadets. This will depend on the detachment's size and needs, the GMC cadet's ability, and the Commandant of Cadets' discretion.

Professional Officer Course (AS300, AS400, AS700, AS800 & AS900)

The Professional Officer Course (POC) consists of cadets who have satisfactorily completed field training. POC cadets are contracted with the Air Force, whether on scholarship or not, as enlisted members of the Individual Ready Reserve, and receive a monthly stipend ($450/month for AS300s and $500/month for AS400s, as of December 2007). By becoming contracted cadets, POC cadets are required to meet height and weight standards, pass a physical fitness test each academic term, and meet a minimum Cumulative & Term GPA requirement of 2.5. Failing to meet the standards multiple times may result in disenrollment from the program. All POC cadets also must hold at least one leadership position within the cadet wing.

In some cases, students with academic requirements that exceed four years (usually engineers and other technical majors) are in the program for an extra year. During the fifth year these cadets (AS700s) are only minimally required to participate in Lead Lab and maintain retention standards. Otherwise, these cadets have completed their AFROTC requirements. It is important to note that this is not the case for schools with co-op programs that entail a total of four years of classes and one year of cooperative experience. In these cases the cadets are classified as AS300's their first POC year and AS400's their second and third POC years. The cadets will not attend aerospace classes, Physical Training, or Leadership Lab during their co-op blocks (they will be on Periods of Non-Attendance) and otherwise complete the program like any four-year major.

POC cadets hold cadet officer ranks in line with their active-duty Air Force counterparts (C/2d Lt through C/Col). Typically, POC ranks may be based on the job they hold in the cadet wing or assigned through a promotion system (or both). The Cadet Wing Commander carries the rank of C/Col. Cadets returning from Field Training may not hold a rank above C/Capt until at least 1 semester since completing Field Training. Jobs which require more responsibility generally are assigned higher ranks (group commanders are often C/Lt Col's). Unlike the Air Force Academy, for juniors and seniors there is no rank of cadet second class or cadet first class.

Warrior Knowledge

Each cadet is required to know and be able to recite what is termed Warrior Knowledge. They include facts about the Air Force and AFROTC. Some examples of Warrior Knowledge are as follows:

AS100: Honor Code: We will not lie, steal or cheat, nor tolerate among us anyone who does. Air Force Values: Integrity First, Service before Self, Excellence in All We Do. Mission of the United States Air Force: The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly fight and win, in Air, Space, and Cyberspace.

AS200: Major Commands (MAJCOMs): Air Combat Command (ACC), Air Education and Training Command (AETC), Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC), Air Force Space Command (AFSC), Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Mobility Command (AMC), Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC), United State Air Forces in Europe (USAFE)

AS300: 3 Levels of Warfare: Strategic, Operational, Tactical. Air Force Core Competencies: Developing Airmen, Technology-to-Warfighting, Integrating Operations

AS400: Principles of War: Objective, Offensive, Mass, Economy of Force, Maneuver, Unity of Command, Security, Surprise, Simplicity Tenets of Air Power: Centralized Control and Decentralized Execution, Flexibility and Versatility, Priority, Synergy, Balance, Concentration, Persistence (Reference AFROTCI 36-2017)

Physical Training (PT)

Cadets are required to take part in Physical Training (PT) at least two times per week during the year. PT is only authorized during normal academic sessions (not during breaks). Whatever the activity, the cadets must perform activity considered moderate or high intensity, in accordance with AETCI 48-101, "Prevention of Heat Stress Injuries". At some detachments they may consist only of sports games, while others may delve into pre-Field Training sessions to help acclimate the cadets to what they will experience in Field Training. PT is conducted by a cadet leader. PT starts with formation of the wing (flights sequentially in formation) while stretches and calisthenics are performed. Following stretches/calisthenics, PT will be conducted through the discretion of the cadet leader and cadre supervision.

Physical Fitness Assessments (PFA) are conducted at least once per semester. To pass LLAB, a cadet must attempt a PFA. The PFA consists of an abdominal circumference measurement, height and weight measurements (to determine Body Mass Index), and three exercises: push-ups, crunches, and a 1.5 mile run, all of which are scored on a sliding scale. Like Air Force members, cadets have one minute to complete their push-ups and crunches, then move onto the 1.5 mile run. There is a three-minute rest period between each event. Beginning 1 January 2008, the previous minimums for sit-ups, crunches and run times have been eliminated, to coincide with the active duty Air Force requirements. These requirements are specified in AFI 10-248, "Fitness Program".

The Body Mass Index measurements must meet a minimum of 19, and maximm of 27.5, in accordance with DoD standards. Any cadet measured below 19 BMI must see a medical provider to determine if it is safe to work out. A cadet with a BMI above 27.5 is considered overweight and then must have a body fat measurement performed. If a cadet is determined to be over body fat, they may be removed from uniform and have their scholarship suspended (if on scholarship) until they are within standards. If BMI is measured below 25, a cadet receives an automatic 30 points on the Abdominal Circumference (AC) portion of their PFA; if their BMI is 25 or above, the cadet receives a AC score based on the charts of AFI 10-248, Attachment 12.

Some detachments hold an FTP (Field Training Preparation) semester to get cadets ready for Field Training. During FTP semester, cadets are subject to PT sessions that entail much greater levels of intensity. These workouts are often given more frequently, and increased attendance is required.

Field Training

Field Training (FT) is a four or five week (depending on your background) training program that takes place the summer before cadets enter the POC. Completion of this boot camp-style training is a mandatory program for all individuals qualified to pursue an Air Force commission through AFROTC. 2008 marks the first year that all AFROTC Field Training Units (FTU) are held at Maxwell AFB. The Field Training program is designed to evaluate military leadership and discipline, determine the cadet's potential for entry into the Professional Officer Course (POC), and to stratify cadets amongst their peers. Cadets that have been in the program for less than 2 years attend the 5-week extended encampment. This encampment consists of 1 week of academics. Cadets stay at a facility off-base and attend daily classes that cover material from the AS100 and AS200 courses. Cadets also engage in limited D&C practice and physical training. Cadets take a final written test at the end of the week and those that pass continue on to the rest of Field Training.

Field Training is split up into three sections: In-Garrison (11 days), Blue Thunder (6 days), and Joint Forces Training Center (JFTC, at Camp Shelby) (6 days) focusing on academics/D&C, expeditionary skills training (EST), and deployment, respectively.

Field Training is headed by a colonel and a staff of approximately 55 active duty officers, non-commissioned officers, and cadet training assistants (CTA). 14 consist of the senior staff, 18 are Flight Training Officers (FTO, active duty officers typically assigned to an AFROTC Detachment), and 23 CTAs. "CTAs are POC cadets selected, based on their FT performance and overall cadet record, to return to Field Training as assistants to active duty staff members." There is one FTO and one Flight CTA assigned to each flight. Traditional CTAs include Group, Drill & Ceremonies, Physical Training, Public Affairs, and Standardization CTAs. The JFTC staff consists of approximately 15 officers and NCOs dedicated to two encampments at a time.

While in garrison, cadets are organized into flights of approximately 20 cadets, with two flights per squadron, and up to eight squadrons per group. While at JFTC, cadets are organized as a wing consisting of two groups with three squadrons of three flights each.

A typical in-garrison schedule is as follows: reveille, physical training, breakfast, various morning activities (inspections, drill & ceremonies, etc.), lunch, afternoon activities (briefings, group leadership problems (GLP), etc.), retreat, dinner, evening activities (physical training, FTO initiated activities, etc.), call to quarters, and lights out. Training at Blue Thunder consists of hand-to-hand combatives, unit tactics, and various GLPs. Training at JFTC consists of various missions and scenarios throughout the day to include convoy training, close combat training, M16 familiarization, and other deployment skills as described in the Airman's Manual.

In each flight, cadets are ranked from first to last. The top 10% earn the distinction of "Distinguished Graduate", and the next 10% "Superior Performer". All cadets are ranked in one of three divisions in their respective flight: top, middle, or bottom third. The USAA "Top Gun" award acknowledges the highest performing cadet in each flight. Various other awards are given for excelling at physical fitness, marksmanship, academics (extended FTU), and warrior spirit.

Cadets' rankings depend on the following criteria:

  • Preparation for Field Training
  • Physical Fitness Assessment (PFA)
  • Leadership skills
  • Professional qualities
  • Communication skills
  • Judgment/decision making skills
  • Warrior Ethos

Only the active duty officers evaluate and stratify the cadets. CTAs often give input but never officially evaluate cadets. Those cadets recommended for CTA duty have the option to apply to become CTAs the following year.

Aerospace Studies

"AS" classes are the academic portion of AFROTC and are taken as electives for university credit — generally one credit hour classes meeting one hour per week. There are eight semesters of AS instruction with each year grouped into two AS classes. They are numbered from 100 to 400 which corresponds with the year of instruction.

AS 100: Basic Air Force knowledge, such as the structure of the force, missions, ranks, etc.
AS 200: Air Force history, which covers both the earliest history of aviation up to events as recent as Operation Allied Force.
AS 300: Leadership studies, which covers issues related to leadership, ethics, and being a military officer.
AS 400: Preparation for active duty, which deals with concrete issues such as the UCMJ, finance, world affairs, and administration.

Leadership Laboratory (LLAB)

Leadership Laboratory is a weekly, Pass/Fail, up to two hour class during which most military instruction occurs. Most detachments offer LLAB for zero credit, while some receive one credit-hour for the PT/LLAB combination. GMC cadets receive briefings, wear uniforms, practice drill and ceremonies, and execute Group Leadership Projects. On the weekends detachments usually offer "Flight Time," which is one hour of extra training pertaining to the upcoming Leadership Lab. POC cadets are tasked with planning and executing Lead Lab, as well as performing administration of the cadet wing. The PT program is actually part of LLAB and cadets will fail LLAB if they do not meet PT attendance standards. To pass LLAB each semester, a cadet must, at a minimum:

- Attend 80% of LLAB and PT sessions

- Attempt a PFA

- Not show indifference to training

Cadets also are categorized into five different training categories, based on when they are attending Field Training or when they plan to commission. Each category trains to a different standardized set of objectives, to ensure the program provides all training necessary to a cadet.

Initial Military Training (IMT): normally AS 100 cadets, but this group consists of GMC cadets not going to Field Training the following summer.

Field Training Preparation (FTP): normally AS 200 cadets, this group consists of GMC cadets planning to attend Field Training the following summer. May also be dual-enrolled GMC (known as AS 250). This can happen if a cadet joins their sophomore year and needs to catch up in the ROTC curriculum.

Intermediate Cadet Leader (ICL): normally AS 300 cadets, this group consists of POC cadets not due to commission this academic year, or are in the third year of AS classes.

Senior Cadet Leader (SCL): normally AS 400 cadets, this group consists of POC cadets planning to commission this academic year or are in the last year of AS classes. May also be dual-enrolled POC (known as AS 450), usually only allowed for one semester.

Extended Cadet Leader (ECL): normally AS 700, 800 or 900 cadets, these cadets have completed the AFROTC curriculum but need more time to complete their academic degree. ECL cadets are required to attend two LLABs per month and meet all PT program requirements. AS 700 cadets are those that have not graduated and are still receiving scholarship or stipend benefits. AS 800 cadets are those that have not graduated and are not still receiving scholarship or stipend benefits. AS 900 cadets are those that have graduated and earned a degree but have not commissioned, normally due to a medical or administrative delay.

Cadet rank

AFROTC cadet rank is derived from Naval rank and insignia, which follows a similar ascension ordering. Cadet ranking is based solely on the position held within the wing. Freshmen/1st year cadets (AS 100s) hold C/4C rank. Sophomores/2nd year cadets (AS 200s) hold C/3C rank. These ranks are part of the GMC and considered "Cadet Airmen", are not Cadet Officer (POC) positions and will not be saluted. C/2d Lt and above ranking is assigned to POC only. Cadets may also not hold cadet rank above the rank of C/Capt the semester following successful completion of field training and induction into the POC. The following semester they may hold any cadet officer rank. The only steadfast requirement for a POC cadet to hold is that of cadet wing commander, which must be a C/Col.
Cadet Fourth Class C/4C First Year Cadet
Cadet Third Class C/3C Second Year Cadet
Cadet Second Lieutenant C/2d Lt
Cadet First Lieutenant C/1st Lt
Cadet Captain C/Capt
Cadet Major C/Maj
Cadet Lieutenant Colonel C/Lt Col
Cadet Colonel C/Col

Ribbons

AFROTC ribbons are awarded for many various achievements. The complete list is below as per AFROTCVA 36-3, May 4.

Notable Air Force ROTC graduates

Resources

See also

References

External links

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