The Wilkes Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) Detachment 752 was recently awarded a first place award on July 15 for its video submission for the “I AM ROTC: 2019 Cadet Recruiting Contest.”
The AFROTC headquarters held a nationwide recruiting video contest for any ROTC detachment to participate in. The subject of the video was to be a recruiting video that depicted and encouraged people to learn more about the AFROTC program.
The team of cadets that produced the video were senior Justin Pranga; senior Bradley Welsh, the Cadet Wing Commander for Detachment 752; junior Kameron Wenk, the Cadet Deputy Public Affairs Officer for Detachment 752; and sophomore students Alec Leese and Rummy Singh.
The judges of the contest were composed of combat cameramen, public affairs officers and social media experts. The detachment will also receive a plaque in recognition of the effort.
“The video primarily focused on the dual life that AFROTC students have as a cadet and a student. It showcased the various opportunities that AFROTC students have, like scholarships and base visits, and then the video transitioned into footage from various Air Force careers that AFROTC students could pursue in their future,” said Cadet Gregory Navestad, the Cadet Public Affairs Officer for Detachment 752.
Detachment 752 saw a major growth spurt last fall, where enrollment grew from 50 to 110 cadets. Word of mouth from cadets to their families and networking events have been viewed as catalysts for this influx.
“Our recruiting team does a great job of reaching out to many local high schools and universities. The majority of our detachment is made of students from the valley area, so going to the local schools definitely shows an impact of Det. 752’s growth. Our public affairs team does a great job of reaching out to other areas through our social media,” Wenk said.
AFROTC is a professional training program for college students. It is the largest and oldest source of commissioned officers for the U.S. Air Force. According to AFOATS HQ, in 2006 AFROTC commissioned 2,083 USAF Second Lieutenants, with AFROTC enrollment ranging from 23,605 in 1985 to 10,231 in 1993, and around 13,000 enrolled today.
AFROTC units at colleges and universities are called detachments and are headed by an active duty USAF officer of the rank of colonel or lieutenant colonel. They function as the Detachment Commander for USAF purposes and have the nominal title of professor of aerospace studies within the institution’s academic community. The active-duty officer at Wilkes is Lt. Col. Robert Hartmann.
Between 1943 and 1944 more than 700 aviation cadets were educated at Wilkes as part of the Bucknell University Junior College U.S. Army Air Corps 6th College Training Detachment. Many of these cadets went on to serve as pilots and navigators during World War II.
Detachment 752 was started under former Wilkes president Dr. Francis J. Michelini in 1973 when Congressman Daniel J. Flood announced Wilkes was selected to host an AFROTC program.
For students who are considering the military, AFROTC gives them a different experience than they would expect going through the traditional enlisted model.
“The support, the opportunities, and the personal/professional growth that each cadet can receive is unmatched in any other organization. Not only is this an opportunity for us to become a part of something bigger than ourselves, it is an opportunity that pushes us towards a career with benefits and experiences that cannot be attainable with a career in the civilian world,” Welsh said.
Things to watch out for include their newly recognized Silver Wings Club; an organization that allows students to gain access to opportunities that are offered by AFROTC recognized organizations. They will be marching in the Wilkes-Barre Veteran’s Day parade on Nov. 10. They will also be having an upcoming ROTC Open House next semester for interested students, where they can interact with cadets during one of their training sessions.
Anyone interested in more information or would like to come watch a training session can email them at [email protected] They can also be contacted on Instagram at @afdet752 or on Facebook at AFROTC Detachment 752.