Team Dover shows local ROTC cadets Pathway to Blue
By Staff Sgt. Aaron J. Jenne, 436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 17, 2017
DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- About 40 ROTC and Junior ROTC cadets from local schools visited Dover AFB Oct. 11, 2017, to learn about the mission of the base.
Team Dover welcomed the cadets who toured the installation, making stops at several offices including the 436th Operations Support Squadron’s Air Traffic Control tower, the 436th Maintenance Group’s C-5M Super Galaxy Isochronal Inspection Dock and the 436th Aerial Port Squadron’s Super Port facilities. The cadets also spoke with representatives of the 436th Civil Engineer Squadron’s fire fighter and explosive ordnance disposal teams while they showed some of the equipment they use on a daily basis.
“I never heard of this program while I was in ROTC,” said Lt. Col. Todd Walker, 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron commander. “I love it. Having these young volunteers tour the base with the active duty gave them a first-hand look at life in the Air Force.”
The tour started with a promotional video and a welcome from Col. Randy Boswell, 436th Mission Support Group commander. Boswell and 1st Lt. Alexander Clawson, 436th LRS Fuels Flight commander, spoke to the cadets about their time in the Air Force, talked about the bases they’ve served at and answered the cadets’ questions.
“We have approximately 300 officers here at Dover AFB, and about 45 percent of them came through the ROTC program, just like you guys,” Boswell said to the visiting cadets. “I graduated from the University of Missouri at Rolla, from [AFROTC Detachment] 442 about 25 years ago. I was sitting in your seats, and I loved every minute of it. The opportunities I got as a student were phenomenal. The lessons I learned have carried me through 20 plus years of military service.
“When I look back at my 26 years, I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Boswell continued. “It’s been that exciting. I wish you the same luck. I hope you find what you like to do. If it’s serving the Air Force, thank you for doing that. If it’s doing something else, that’s great too. We need great leaders across our nation.”
Boswell continued by saying leadership is not dictated by what you do. Clawson echoed this sentiment, stating that every job is important when it comes to military service.
“The best advice I got when I was in ROTC came from my dad in the form of a quote: ‘We all carry the spear, it’s a matter of how close to the tip you are,’” Clawson said to the cadets. “Regardless of what job you get, everything that you do every day is in some way related to making sure our guys in the Area of Responsibility can get the job done. Even if you’re just sorting paperwork, that might allow an Airman to get deployed on time and go support our pararescuemen or maintain the aircraft that are firing on ISIS. Everything you do is important to the Air Force.”
After their tours, the cadets spent some time with several of Team Dover’s company grade officers who had also entered the Air Force through the ROTC program.
“[We] provided insight and advice on a range of topics including career selection, work/life balance, broadening opportunities and leadership,” said 1st Lt. Maris Glenn, 436th OSS airfield operations flight commander. “Very few ROTC cadets meet other officers before they commission, so this was a unique opportunity for these cadets to hear first-hand about life as an active duty officer.”
At the end of the day, each member of the tour had a better idea of what active duty military service is like, and of the roles and responsibilities of an Air Force officer.
“Team Dover continues to make me proud,” Walker said. “Our entire wing is embracing our community like no other base I’ve been a part of. We continue to be transparent in our commitment to serving others, and it’s obvious that the Eagle Wing is all about servant leadership.”