Cadet Taylor Boggs grew up in Cincinnati as one of eight kids. She was inspired to enter Air Force ROTC by her older brother, now a retired Master Sergeant, and to attend IU by her aunt, an IU Bloomington alumna. “I fell in love with the campus and with the people here,” said Boggs, a junior studying biology and Hispanic literature.
Boggs traveled to Costa Rica through IU for a tropical biology program that combined both of her majors. “I think there’s a lot to learn from traveling,” said Boggs, who also traveled to Costa Rica for a language immersion program in high school. “The more time you spend in other cultures, I think the more aware you become, and more open-minded—which is something we need more of in this world.”
Over the summer of 2018, Boggs was named a Field Training Distinguished Graduate following her training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, ranking No. 10 out of 410 cadets from all over the U.S. (in the top 2.5% out of her class). This training was one of six sessions that took place over the summer of 2018.
Air Force ROTC students nationwide take part in field training the summer between sophomore and junior years. That means 13 days without a cell phone or contact with the outside world, frequent uniform and dorm inspections, and memorization and recitation of the code of conduct and warrior knowledge. It also means quickly learning the strengths and weaknesses of members of the 20-member “flight” group (three flights comprise a squadron).
Being part of the program helped Boggs to identify her strengths (detail-oriented, knew the training manual front-to-back) and contemplate her main weaknesses (being strong leader with a Type A personality can make being a good follower a challenge).
In addition to her standard Air Force duties—three one-hour workouts a week, a weekly leadership lab and an aerospace studies course—Boggs is a member of a sorority; enjoys camping, hiking, and bonfires; tutors other students in biology and chemistry; and is part of the Arnold Air Society, a group focused on bonding between Air Force officer candidates, leadership development, and service.
She’s had excellent mentors in the AFROTC program, and now has the chance to be a mentor for those coming up behind her. “I definitely feel like being part of ROTC has given me a platform to be a role model for younger individuals in a way that I probably never could have been if I hadn’t been in ROTC.” As the only pre-med upperclassman at Detachment 215, she’s mentoring several freshmen who want to follow the same path.
Her closest friends are fellow cadets, and she’ll room with two female cadets during her senior year. “My favorite thing about being in the ROTC is something our Detachment Commander talks about all the time, which is that our detachment is a family, and I 100 percent think that’s true. My best friends are in ROTC.”