Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. visited Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 207 at Saint Louis University to speak with cadets April 28.
The intent of the visit was to provide 85 potential future Air Force officers with strategic perspective and leadership guidance from the Air Force’s senior uniformed officer, who is a graduate of the ROTC program at Texas Tech University.
“The most important job I have is how we develop our Airmen – how we develop our future leaders,” Brown said. “Whether you’re one of our junior Airmen, a second lieutenant, or even at the four-star level, how do we empower you to feel comfortable making decisions?”
During the engagement, Brown discussed his strategic approach, “Accelerate Change or Lose,” which outlines the need for leaders to be prepared to adapt to the challenges the Air Force will face in the future.
“It’s important that you will be able to lead through complex challenges,” Brown said. “I really want to challenge the entire Air Force, including ROTC, to take a look at the areas we can do better. The way you develop yourself to help accelerate change is by challenging (the status quo) and asking ‘why’.”
For the cadets in attendance, the engagement offered the unique chance to engage with a senior Air Force officer and ask questions about their role in future operations.
“Having the opportunity to have Gen. Brown speak to the entire cadet wing in person is not just an amazing accomplishment for our team, but the greatest morale booster,” said Cadet Colette McCarthy, an SLU student and a senior cadet in the ROTC program. “My biggest takeaway from his leadership advice would be to always ask for what you want. We should always think about the goals we have in our career and our life, and not be afraid to speak up.”
The visit marked the students’ last class of the semester, concluding a challenging year that still required them to complete necessary requirements to pursue their commission in the Air Force.
“I could not be more proud of the work our cadets have done, especially given the additional challenges this year brought,” said Lt. Col. Russell Montante, Detachment 207 commander. “Today gave our cadets a chance to hear truly unrivaled strategic perspective, and I am confident these lessons from the chief of staff will stay with them as they go through this program and eventually become leaders in our Air Force.”
Air Force ROTC is a national program offered at more than 1,100 colleges and universities across the country, developing leaders by preparing students to become military officers. Detachment 207 at SLU is composed of students from nine schools in the metro St. Louis area, representing diverse backgrounds, areas of study and career interests. The unit provided more than $800,000 in scholarship opportunities for cadets in the local area this year.