Members of Air Force ROTC Detachment 014, which includes Spring Hill College and the University of South Alabama, attended the Arnold Air Society National Conclave in Washington D.C.
Multiple notable guests and keynote speakers appeared at this year's event including the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, the Chief of Staff of the Space Force and Dr. Stacey Dixon, Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence. Other speakers included an Attaché Panel and former astronaut Dr. Bonnie Dunbar.
At NATCON, cadets and squadrons were honored for their hard work and accomplishments throughout the year. Organizers recognized AAS cadets as "the future leaders of the Air Force, the future officers of tomorrow." Speakers also talked about the future and the important role cadets will play in the Air Force.
“So, what is the next chapter in the history of this generation of our time?” Dixon asked the members at the event. “We start the course for more opportunity, to persevere, to lead for ourselves, for our nation and for generations of Americans yet to come. What will you lead for those who will be here when they mark the 100th anniversary of the greatest Air Force in history?
“On that day some of you will be up here and they will be where you are. I am committed to leaving them a legacy to be proud of, that is my challenge. Do you accept this challenge?” Dixon asked. The audience roared back, “challenge accepted!”
There are Spring Hill College students in the AFROTC program at the University of South Alabama. USA has the AAS Jimmy V. Adams Squadron with 14 active members from USA and one active member from SHC.
This year’s event was the first in-person meeting held in three years.
Not all AFRTOC cadets become members of Arnold Air Society. It is an honorary society for cadets to build on their leadership and strive for something bigger than themselves. AAS is available to officer candidates in the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps, and the Air Force Academy. To be inducted into AAS, cadets must complete candidate training, attend meetings and pay dues.
A story in the Air Force Magazine entitled “The Arnies” stated, “Arnies can command local squadrons, hold regional offices and run for national positions corresponding to those they might hold once commissioned in the Air Force. Lessons learned include long-range planning, financial management, teamwork, and protocol procedures. Arnies also serve their campuses and communities through a variety of projects. These range from raising thousands of dollars for service to holding events aimed at raising the public’s awareness of the POW, MIA issues.”
For more information about AAS and Silver Wings go to https://aas-sw.org. For more information about the Air Force go to airforce.com and to read The Arnies story go to airforcemag.com.