It’s “the most fun you never want to have again,” according to third-year ME major and cadet Ryan Doll.
From drill, marching and Field Training to classes, conferences and new friends, Air Force ROTC can be a lot of work. More precisely, ROTC can be a lot of disciplined and rigorous work. For the cadets of Tech’s own Detachment 165, though, any sacrifice is “completely worth it.”
Joining the Air Force ROTC is a serious commitment. To join, potential cadets need to pass a physical and need to have at least two years of college left. Many cadets, though, join straight out of high school and get a scholarship for their commitment.
Doll knew he wanted join before he came to Tech. His goal is to become an Air Force pilot. While students may not think of Tech as the place to be for Air Force training, Doll maintains he “couldn’t be happier with where [he] ended up.”
The Air Force cadets meet every Tuesday and Thursday for two hours worth of classes, or “Leadership Lab.” There, cadets are briefed, practice drill and take classes that, according to Doll, “directly mirror what it is like in the Air Force.”
Unlike other detachments, Tech’s is made up of students from colleges around the Metro-Atlanta area, including KSU and SPSU.
Cadets’ time in the Air Force ROTC is split into two basic groups, General Military Course (GMC), which is their first two years of ROTC training, and Professional Officer Course (POC), which is their final years.
The difference between the GMC and POC is greater than just their number of years, according to Doll. GMC is more about “being put under pressure,” while POC is more about fine-tuning leadership skills.
Air Force ROTC is much more than just training and drill, though. In fact, Doll says his favorite memories are of funny moments while standing at attention or of everyone getting pizza and shining their shoes.
Doll emphasized the importance of camaraderie between cadets.
“As a Freshman, for me, meeting new friends was so ‘ick’ but my friends in ROTC are some of my best friends on campus. We have so much in common already.”
According to Doll, the motivation and discipline shared by members of the Air Force ROTC is one of the reasons their detachment has been so successful. In fact, they are currently the best medium-sized detachment in the nation.
Doll also attributes ROTC to some of his success so far at Tech.
“It sounds cliche, but [ROTC] has absolutely taught me how to deal with a crazy schedule and no downtime,” Doll said.
Doll cannot wait to become a pilot, but he emphasizes that he is “two lunges from reaching [his] dream” because of the Tech Air Force ROTC.
“[ROTC] is totally worth it. If the military is something your thinking about, try it. The program results are awesome,” Doll said.