IU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 215 recently recruited its largest freshman class ever – 65 cadets, more than double the usual class size of 30. That means restructuring training programs to accommodate the extra people.
“My biggest task with a wing this large is to implement a plan that everyone learns from,” said Cadet Weathers, who implements the training at leadership lab each week as director of training operations.
Along with Cadet Fricker and Cadet Bailey, Weathers spent about 100 hours mapping out a training plan over the summer.
Weathers is currently developing tools that seniors can use to evaluate juniors, and instruction modules for juniors to teach sophomores and freshmen. He’s also working with sophomores to prepare them for summer field training and providing freshmen with their own leadership opportunities. “Having this large amount of cadets in the wing makes it very difficult to facilitate a plan that works for everybody,” he said. “But I think, with my leadership and the cadre oversight, I definitely think we’ve been able to do that this semester.”
Previously, Weathers was prior enlisted for eight years of service. One semester, he was deployed to Afghanistan, then was suddenly back in Bloomington, readjusting to student life.
Weathers is a perfectionist who wants the leadership lab to run perfectly. He frequently reminds himself to back up and let people make their own decisions and mistakes, but it is not easy. “I’m a very meticulous person to begin with, and I don’t like it if I brief someone on something and they just do their own thing,” he said. “We know what should happen, so if something isn’t going according to plan, I want to fix it.”
The biggest misconception other students have about Air Force ROTC cadets? “They either think it’s an extracurricular, like chess club or something, or they’ll ask, ‘What planes are you flying?’”