Air Force ROTC cadets recognized
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 15:04
After a year of dedication to the Air Force ROTC program, cadets from the NDSU and UND wings filled the Great Plains Ballroom to be commended for their successes.
For some, the awards ceremony simply meant graduation to a higher level of classes, while for others it meant they were about to be commissioned into active-duty service in the Air Force.
Captain Stephen Porter, the commandant of cadets for NDSU's wing, says the event gave cadets an earned venue to showcase their accomplishments.
"I think they're proud to be an American citizen and able to be part of an organization that's training [them] to be active-duty military. They worked hard this year, they really have. I beat up on them a lot, but they've worked really hard, they've accomplished great things, and they should be proud that they can be here," Porter said.
Each award had a specific purpose, whether it be to recognize academic excellence or to commend true Americanism. Most of the cadets brought their families with them so that they could share in the excitement of being chosen as truly distinguished out of the approximately 100 cadets in attendance.
Cadet Colonel Robert Field, the current wing commander of NDSU's wing, was recognized as the most-outstanding Professional Officer Course cadet, which is a distinction given to only one cadet in each wing.
"There's quite a few of us, a lot of really top-notch cadets, and to be the best one and to get that trophy is a pretty big deal," Field said.
Captain Kevin Mathews, an assistant professor of aerospace studies, says each of the cadets have something unique to be proud of because of the breadth of what the ROTC program offers.
"Everyone has something else that they gravitate to when they want something. For me it was being able to do something that the normal person wouldn't do," Mathews said. "That would be the biggest thing that the cadets should be proud of. Because they're so small of a group, they're willing to go the extra mile."
Mathews has been with NDSU's ROTC program for a year now, and he says that watching the cadets develop in the time he's been with the university has been the best part of the job. He says the ROTC program allows cadets to become people who are able to be proud of what they do.
"The biggest thing [the program offers] is a challenge to be able to serve and educate at the same time," Mathews said. "What I look for in a cadet in the ROTC is one that actually thinks and [who is] not ... a robot."
"I've enjoyed watching all of the young adults grow and mature. it has been incredible," Mathews said.