MacDill educates the future officers of the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Scott Warner
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

Every year, Airmen separate or retire from the Air Force due to many different reasons.

However, those voids are filled by new and eager Airmen who join the ranks to serve their country.

One of the programs responsible for cultivating the young Airmen of tomorrow, while also offering significant opportunities, benefits and training, is the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

On Feb. 21, 2018, nine ROTC cadets from the University of South Florida visited MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, to experience the Air Force mission firsthand.

“I think it is important for these cadets to see and experience what happens in the operational Air Force,” said 1st Lt. David Deleon, an intelligence officer assigned to the 6th Operational Support Squadron responsible for escorting the cadets. “Mentorship is important at any level and I believe I can help these cadets through sharing my personal experience with them.”

Deleon, a DET-158 USF alumni, gives back to the program that once helped him get to where he is today in his career.

While at MacDill, the cadets observed the mission of an intelligence officer, and toured the 310th Air Refueling Squadron, the 6th OSS Operation Support Weather work center, and the 6th OSS Aircrew Flight Equipment work center.

They also received the opportunity to meet and speak with Lt. Col. Justin Dahman, the commander of the 6th OSS.

“We spoke about the mission of the Operations Support Squadron and how our diverse functions support the mission of the 6th Air Mobility Wing and Air Mobility Command,” said Dahman.

In addition to speaking about the mission, Dahman relayed the importance of continuing their education.

While in the ROTC program, cadets learn about customs and courtesies, Air Force history, dress and appearance, and how to meet other specific leadership objectives.

“ROTC offers great opportunities and I get a unique perspective on how the Air Force works,” said Jack Fite, a student in his junior year at USF. “It is an extremely positive experience.”

Before they walk and train in the uniform, cadets learn the importance of what it means to wear it. 

“We also discussed the importance of resiliency, open communication, and goal setting,” said Dahman. “It’s a necessity in the Air Force to understand your personality traits, whether good or bad, and having the courage to step outside of your comfort zone with confidence.”

Dahman, along with Deleon, offered their insight because according to the Air Force mission, Airmen do not operate alone and the efforts of Airmen are made possible with the great support of many.

“The overall experience is a great balance between education and military training,” said Fite. “I appreciate the mentorship I have received so far and this visit to MacDill motivates me even more to stay on the path that I am on.”