Liv Abrahamsen and Lauren Underwood in their Air Force uniforms. LAUREN UNDERWOOD/COURTESY
By Karen Flores, Arts and Entertainment Editor
The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) at Manhattan College strives to help qualified students become leaders both on campus and within the US Air Force and Space Force.
According to the MC website, students have multiple options to join and complete the AFROTC program. There is a four-year program in which students may join as freshmen and a three-year program, which may vary depending on the time of enrollment.
“[One can] enter the four-year program as a college freshman. The three-year program allows sophomore students, junior college transfer students, and other students with at least six academic semesters remaining (five must be full-time), either in undergraduate or graduate status,” states the website.
The website explains that these two programs allow students to compete for full academic scholarships. Students are to meet at least a 2.5 GPA and satisfy Air Force/Space Force physical, fitness, medical and lifestyle qualifications in order to get an Air Force/Space Force commission while completing their studies.
Lieutenant Colonel Bernard King, commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 560 and department chair of air and space studies, explained to The Quadrangle that there is no specific degree requirements to join AFROTC. Additionally, a student may enroll in AFROTC without an initial military commitment.
“You can study and track any major you so desire and have to be a full-time student,” explained King. “There’s no initial military commitment, enroll in AFROTC. You can come in, learn and see if that’s something you’re interested in. At the second year mark of AFROTC is when you would need to make a commitment to serve in the military upon graduation. However, any student can take an Air & Space course at Manhattan College as an elective without military commitment.”
King explained what the AFROTC students usually spend their Fridays together as a cohort.
“There’s going to be classroom instruction that you’ll sign up for within the department of aerospace studies,” said King. “We also instruct every Friday morning, freshman, sophomore, junior senior classes. We also do what we call leadership lab which is typically a three-hour block. This is where students engage in hands-on leadership development. We conduct physical training every Friday afternoon.”
Students involved in the AFROTC have the opportunity to connect with people of different career paths and backgrounds and may also have the chance to travel as well.
“We have students who have done a language and cultural immersion over the summer internationally,” said King. “Last summer, we had four cadets selected from our AFROTC program. Two of them went to Taiwan, another went to Kazakhstan, and a fourth went to Jordan in the Middle East. We have a ton of symposiums and conferences across the country that cadets have the opportunity to attend. There are internship opportunities as well.”
Liv Abrahamsen, a junior civil engineering major, expressed that being in the AFROTC creates a community that expands past MC and keeps her motivated when they are all together.
“We have cadets from all different schools that come here and we all do PT training,” said Abrahamsen. “We are either on campus or Van Cortlandt. It’s very fun when we’re doing it all together, the morale is very high and it’s motivating.”
Lauren Underwood, a junior psychology major, believes that being in the AFROTC helps her sharpen skills that translate into her academic life.
“It has helped me stay organized and get better at time management,” said Underwood. “For me specifically, it’s taught me how to communicate with others, whether that be an email or public speaking. I noticed a lot in my other classes when it’s time to do presentations it comes more naturally because we’re constantly doing briefings and presentations in front of our AFROTC instructors.”
Underwood hopes to see the AFROTC more involved in MC activities, such as at the pep rallies and athletic events.
“Maybe if our honor guard can present the colors during madness, or some type of sports game in terms of having more campus involvement,” said Underwood. “Perhaps [we could have] more marketing about our fundraisers, the Jets games where we get the chance to hold the US flag so that people know more about us and what we do.”
King hopes that students and faculty members at MC can see AFROTC as a place where one can come and learn more about the opportunities around them.
“I would just encourage students and faculty members to ask questions,” said King. “We’re very approachable and we want to share the opportunities that the Air Force and the Space Force provides everyone. If they’re interested in learning more, our doors are always open, come by anytime we’re in Leo Engineering 246 and we will happily help you.” For more information about the AFROTC, visit www.Det560.com or reach out to their email, email@example.com.