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What is Air Force ROTC?

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is one of the three ways to obtain a commission in the United States Air Force; the other two being Officer Training School (OTS) and the United States Air Force Academy.

AFROTC at Indiana State University (with cross-town agreements with Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Vincennes University, and Ivy Tech Community College) is offered through the College of Technology and taught by active duty Air Force officers assigned as ROTC faculty. Credits earned in the program can count as elective credit toward any degree program at the University. All undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to enroll in Air Force ROTC courses; however, entry into the Professional Officer Course is limited to qualified students who have been selected to pursue an Air Force commission. Students completing the entire program receive a commission and enter the active duty Air Force as a second lieutenant.

AFROTC is not the National Guard, Reserve, or Active Duty Military. Cadets cannot be deployed, they cannot be pulled out of school, and they have zero commitment to the military unless they have chosen to commit.

College AFROTC is not the same as High School AFROTC even though the programs are similar. High School AFROTC teaches students to be a better citizen and student by teaching discipline and a general overview of the military services. The focus in College AFROTC is on leadership and management training in preparation of leading the nation’s most advanced military service.

AFROTC Opportunities

Arnold Air Society - The Tammy L. Blubaugh Squadron. Named after the former Henry “Hap” Arnold, this professional, honorary society focuses on personal excellence and other leadership traits for which General Arnold was known. Arnold Air Society provides cadets an opportunity to excel in the ROTC program, as well as an outlet for community service.

Base Visits. Every year we will visit an active duty Air Force base so all cadets can experience the Air Force first hand.

Campus Life. Of course, college life isn’t all about ROTC. We encourage cadets to get involved in other activities on campus and around town. Many cadets participate in varsity and intramural sports, as well as various clubs and organizations. We have computers for cadet use, as well as a library and cadet lounge.

Change of Command. This ceremony, held at the end of each semester, is a time-honored military tradition of transferring the cadet corps command from one individual to the next. During this unique military event, the 218 Cadet Wing guidon passes from the current Cadet Wing Commander to the new Cadet Wing Commander.

Color Guard. As a service to the community, the Color Guard properly presents the Colors at graduations, college and professional sporting events, parades, ROTC functions, and other community events. The Color Guard instructs cadets on basic marching and precision drill.

Commissioning. The culmination of the ROTC program is commissioning as a second lieutenant. At this time, cadets take the Oath of Office and become officers in the United States Air Force.

Dining Out. Each fall & spring, cadets of Det 218, along with their guests and other military personnel, gather for an evening of festivities. Events of the evening include a guest speaker, a meal and a dance.

Flight Orientation Program. The Flight Orientation Program (FOP) is a community-based aviation program that works extensively with Air Force cadets. The FOP program offers flight orientation, as well as incentive flights to students.

High Flight. When cadets join ROTC, they are automatically a member of the student organization High Flight. High Flight’s main purpose is to financially support cadet activities. Not only does this bring in money for the cadet corps, but it also provides a service to the city and gives us a chance to show our face in the community.

Mentor Program. As an under-classmen, ROTC can be intimidating. With all of the uniform requirements, customs, courtesies, and acronyms, ROTC can make your head spin. To help freshmen and sophomores become accustomed to the military way, each under-classmen cadet has an upper-classman mentor. These mentors are there to answer questions and help when the need arises.

Professional Development Training (PDT). Every summer, cadets have the opportunity to take part in the PDT program. This program allows cadets to experience the Air Force first hand. Some of the PDT opportunities available include:

  • Nurse Orientation
  • Soaring (flying gliders)
  • Freefall Parachuting
  • NASA Engineering Research Experience
  • Operation Air Force

Veteran’s Day. Every year on November 11, the nation observes Veteran’s Day. To show respect, Det 218 cadets perform a vigil at the Vigo County Court House near the Indiana State University Campus. The cadets also participate in Veteran’s Day events at ISU, local schools, and other community locations.

Field Training

Prior to commissioning, normally between a student’s sophomore and junior year, all cadets must attend a field training session at Maxwell Air Force Base. Field training for four-year cadets is four weeks and involves physical conditioning, weapons and survival training, and opportunities for developing skills as a leader and team member. A five-week field training session is required for two-year cadets. The additional week is used for academics normally taught during the first two years of ROTC.


After earning a degree and completing all required AFROTC courses, cadets are commissioned into the United States Air Force as 2nd Lieutenants. The total military service obligation is 8 years - all graduates are called to active duty for 4 years and are subject to recall for an additional 4 years as reservists. Officers who attend navigator or air battle manager training have a 6 year commitment after training, and pilots incur a 10 year commitment. Just enrolling in an AFROTC class carries no obligation - upon qualification, students may contract for commission. Upon contracting, cadets become legally obligated to graduate on time and to serve in the active military forces.

Professional Officer Course (POC) Qualifications

To qualify for entry into the POC, you must:

  • Pass a physical fitness assessment
  • Meet the Air Force height and weight standards
  • Pass a written Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT)
  • Pass a medical examination
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Complete a summer Field Training course
  • Meet commissioning age requirements

Professional Organizations

Arnold Air Society is a professional, honorary, service organization composed of cadets in the Air Force ROTC Program. Cadets are selected for membership based on personal merit and academic achievement. The goal of this organization is to enhance the Air Force ROTC programs and to project the image of the United States Air Force on the University campus and in the surrounding community. Silver Wings is a co-ed organization primarily composed of University students who are not cadets (although cadets can join). Membership is open to the entire University population and is based on personal merit. Silver Wings is a national, professional organization dedicated to creating proactive, knowledgeable, and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense.

Active Duty Benefits

As an Air Force officer, you’ll receive a competitive salary and benefits package that includes:

  • Pay increases with rank and time in service
  • Tax-free housing and food allowances
  • Comprehensive health and dental care
  • Low-cost life insurance
  • Outstanding non-contributory retirement program
  • No loss of seniority when moving from base to base
  • 30 days of vacation with pay each year—beginning the very first year

Current pay and benefits as a 2nd Lieutenant is estimated to be worth $53,800 increasing to $83,894 in just four years.

Career Information

Graduates of Air Force ROTC enter the active duty Air Force as second lieutenants. They may pursue careers in technical or non-technical specialties. The Air Force has numerous job opportunities, almost any profession you find in the civilian sector you will find in the Air Force.

Educational Delay

Cadets may request to postpone entering active duty until completion of an advanced degree or professional school. Requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.