By Ajeet Parmar ’23, United States Air Force Cadet, Computer and Systems Engineering and Computer Science Major
As a cadet in the Air Force ROTC (AFROTC), training does not end once the mandatory minimum requirements are met. In fact, various extracurricular training programs are organized, planned, and executed by upperclassmen Professional Officer Course (POC) cadets to train underclassmen General Military Course cadets in the fundamentals of military culture and rigor.
First-year cadets are enrolled in Introductory Military Training (IMT). As a part of their IMT experience, they are strongly encouraged to participate in two voluntary programs planned and executed by POC cadets — the First Term Cadet Center (FTCC) and the Unarmed Drill Team (UDT). FTCC is held in a classroom setting to allow cadets to learn the fundamentals of the U.S. Air Force, including its core values, military rank structure, customs and courtesies, and other basic knowledge. At UDT, cadets learn from select sophomores the basics of military drill.
In the second year of the program, cadets move on to Field Training Prep (FTP). This year of instruction is the most militarily and culturally intense year of the AFROTC. In addition to taking on more responsibilities in the cadet wing, these cadets attend Field Training Preparation where they learn the skills needed to perform with excellence at field training.
After a year of FTP, sophomore cadets are sent to experience field training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Upon their return and successful completion, they are welcomed into the POC to begin leading, teaching, and mentoring incoming cadets.
None of these events are mandatory with the exception of field training, which is necessary to determine ability to become an Air Force or Space Force officer. At its core, the Air Force ROTC requires a five-hour commitment per week. However, all the cadets go above and beyond that requirement — trainers and trainees alike. Endless hours of preparation go into both learning the skills at these events and teaching them. Those who attend are truly dedicated to the betterment of themselves and to the advancement of their training.