CORVALLIS - Dreams of flying for the U.S. Air Force are coming true for six Oregon State University Air Force ROTC students.
All six of OSU Air Force ROTC applicants will begin undergraduate pilot training after their graduation. The OSU selection rate of 100 percent easily exceeded the national average of 65 percent for the fourth consecutive year.
Pilot trainees include Adam Markel, a geography major from Oakland, Ore.; David Blackorby, a junior in business from Beaverton; Clinton Schulz, a senior in science from Grants Pass; Casey Perkins, a senior in business from Florence; Anselmo Nunez, a freshman in business from Corvallis, and Andrew Goulding, a University of Oregon business major from Portland. The OSU ROTC program is available to students attending other regional universities and colleges.
The students competed with cadets from nearly 150 other Air Force ROTC detachments. Criteria for selection included academic performance, leadership potential, physical fitness and aviation aptitude testing.
"We traditionally have a higher selection rate because our cadet wing and Civil Air Patrol squadron are very active," said Major Danny P. Allen, OSU commandant of cadets.
Student involvement is a key factor and a cadet corps of about 70 students also helps. "Because of the attachment's intermediate size, students are given more leadership and flying opportunities than other units," Allen said, adding that when the Air Force ROTC pilot selection board meets, OSU students are highly competitive.
"We know what it takes to win, we have a very competitive program and they have that drive to succeed," said Col. David N. Anderson, detachment commander and Air Force assault aircraft pilot.
"Grades and physical fitness are important, but it takes an attitude, a 'will to win,' and aviation skills are of equal importance," Anderson said.
After graduating from college and completing all Air Force ROTC requirements, the students will be commissioned as second lieutenants in the Air Force. Pilots serve a minimum of 10 years on active duty after completing training.
Markel, a senior, said hard work and commitment is the key in being selected for the limited pilot training slots.
"I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force since a recruiter came and saw me as a freshman. If it wasn't the Air Force, then I would have gone for the flight time as a commercial pilot."
It was more than a decade ago when Goulding thought about flying.
"I knew I wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force the first time I saw an F-15 (fighter jet). I was around nine or 10 years old at the time," Goulding said.
High school or college students interesting in flying careers with the Air Force can contact the OSU ROTC detachment at 800-633-7352 or, 541-737-3291. In addition to Air Force ROTC, OSU also offers Army and Naval ROTC programs. OSU is one of only 48 colleges and universities that offer education for all three military departments