March 24, 2019 | 47° F

Rutgers ROTC cadets to train for pilot slots


Courtesy of AFROTC Detachment 485 | Six Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. cadets will attend flight classes as part of the Undergraduate Flying Training program.

After being evaluated in their knowledge, experience and aptitude, six Rutgers students were chosen for the Air Force’s Undergraduate Flying Program.

Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 485 cadet leaders Graham Ritchie, Nicholas Pollio and Mark Kwietniak were selected for pilot training, cadet Paul Oh was selected for remotely piloted aircraft training, cadet William McCauley for combat systems officer training and cadet William Glaser for air battle manager training.

ROTC is a four-year program at 144 different colleges and universities across the nation in which students take military courses while they study for their bachelor’s or master’s degree, said Lt. Col. Matthew McAndrew, commander of the Rutgers detachment. 

Each semester they take an academic course and a leadership course, and cadets who complete the program are commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Air Force on active duty, he said.

 All the students are volunteers for ROTC, and must compete nationally to be selected for the aviation program. 

“These are folks that normally are wanting to pursue a sort of military career,” he said. “They could be a minimum of four years active duty and some of them will serve 20 or more years.”

They were evaluated based on their academics, performance record, qualification test score and pilot candidate selection method score, he said.

“Aviation career programs are very competitive,” McAndrew said.

The programs have a 71.9 percent acceptance rate, with 694 students in the country being selected this year.

The Air Force also takes the cadets’ experience and aptitude into consideration. Any flight hours they have with an instructor at a local airport and a computer test that measures their hand-eye coordination are incorporated into their pilot candidate score.

The students also demonstrated excellent leadership skills, McAndrew said.

“I rank all the cadets based off of how well they’ve been doing in the program the last three years,” he said. “By that time we’ve got a lot of data points on them as far as their potential leadership and demonstrative leadership and motivation towards the Air Force.”

The selectees will attend Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training at various bases around the United States depending on their programs, with training bases being located in Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

“These are definitely positive stories, and these are Rutgers students who are soon going to be second lieutenants out there all around the world doing great things for our country,” McAndrew said.


Susmita Paruchuri is a School of Arts and Sciences junior majoring in mathematics and journalism and media studies. She is the design editor for The Daily Targum. Follow her on Twitter @susmitapar for more.

Susmita Paruchuri

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