Detachment 885 Air Force ROTC, which consists of both BYU and UVU students, had a 100 percent enrollment rate of cadets selected for field training and will ship off 35 of the brightest cadets in the nation to Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama this summer.
Out of 144 universities in the nation with ROTC programs, only two had 100 percent of their nominated students selected for fielding training. Detachment 885 was one of them. Cadet Major Daniel Cole, a senior at BYU, used a metaphor to express how rare this year’s enrollment rate is.
“It’s like everyone from a college football team making the first round of the NFL draft,” Cole said.
All 35 nominated and selected cadets were evaluated based on several different criteria — the cadet’s GPA, SAT or ACT score, physical fitness score and commander’s ranking.
Major Matt Davis, commandant of cadets, explained how commanders were required to rank cadets from one to 35. He also emphasized the fact that every cadet earned the right to go to field training.
“It’s extremely impressive that we got 100 percent, even with a ranking of 35 of 35,” Davis said. “Their grade point average, ACT score and physical fitness score was high enough to get them selected. We have the best group of cadets in the nation overall, from top to bottom.”
During the four weeks of field training, cadets will spend two weeks at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Ala. During this time cadets will live in the barracks and wake up at 4 a.m. for physical training, combatives and group leadership projects.
The next two weeks will be spent at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi. For two weeks the cadets will live in tents and perform battlefield exercises such as, simulating mortar attacks and learning how to clear rooms. During field training, the cadets will be under the supervision of Cadet Training Assistants.
Cadet Colonel and Wing Commander “Wing King” Jonathan Daniels, a senior at BYU, attended field training last year as a cadet and is returning this year as a Cadet Training Assistant. Daniels was selected to return as a CTA because of his performance last year. He was awarded the Top Gun award in his flight and best cadet in the encampment at Maxwell Fort.
Daniels knows what it takes to be a great cadet. He is proud of all 35 cadets that will be joining him at field training this summer.
Daniels said the enrollment rate reflects well on the Air Force ROTC program.
“It’s remarkable,” Daniels said. ” It’s just a good representation of what kind of program we have here. The class of students that we have, the level of success that we achieve and the standard of excellence.”
Cadet David Gourdin, one of the selected cadets, will leave for Maxwell Air Force Base on July 25.
Gourdin said he was excited for the learning experience.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Gourdin said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do.”
Gourdin plans to make the most of his time at Maxwell Air Force Base and Camp Shelby.
“I’m going to learn a lot and have fun,” Gourdin said. “I’m going to soak up as much knowledge as I can.”
The training the cadets will receive at Maxwell Air Force Base and Camp Shelby will prepare them for the future, and with 35 qualified cadets on their way to Alabama and Mississippi this summer, it looks like the future is in good hands.