AETC commander commissions next generation of leaders
Lt. Gen. Steve Kwast, commander of Air Education and Training Command, was the guest speaker for an Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony May 10 at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Kwast took the time to address the 18 newly commissioned lieutenants and their families about the challenges and responsibilities they will soon face.
“What we have here today is the greatest fabric of our society,” said Kwast. “Your generation is going to reinvent American power for the digital age. Your generation is going to have to let go of the paradigms of the past and build new capability in new ways that give America the power to drive fear into the hearts of our enemies and reassurance to the hearts of our friends who share our values, so humanity can live free with the principles of liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness.”
The lieutenants also earned an undergraduate degree in addition to completing the ROTC program at UTSA in preparation for their future career in the Air Force.
“What we do here at ROTC is teach young cadets everything about the Air Force during their first few years; we teach them what the benefits are and also the structure of the Air Force, and we later progress that into leadership,” said Maj. Jimmy Odom, UTSA ROTC director of operations. “We teach them the fundamentals of leadership and give them opportunities to display leadership as well with positions available here in our cadet wing. We make sure they have the qualities we need in the Air Force. Once we do that and they complete their four-year program they get their commission.
“This is an outstanding group of cadets,” he continued. “Their impact will be felt Air Force wide. They have the ability, the educational background, drive and the dedication we are looking for in the Air Force.”
Each lieutenant is already assigned an Air Force specialty code for their job, and they will either head to their first permanent duty station or to their technical training school. Careers in this group of commissionees include contracting, finance, intelligence and piloting aircraft.
“This program has helped me so much,” said 2nd Lt. Alexandra Duhaine, one of the newly commissioned lieutenants. “When I came out of high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I didn’t have a goal or vision for myself. Through the ROTC program I was able to get the structure and discipline I needed. ROTC taught me confidence and showed me what I’m capable of doing. This experience has refined me and made me stronger, and I’m excited to start my career in the Air Force.”
Air Force ROTC is one of the three primary commissioning sources for officers in the United States Air Force, the other two being the United States Air Force Academy and Air Force Officer Training School.