Clemson University’s highly decorated Air Force ROTC program has been accorded two more accolades by the U.S. Air Force.
Detachment 770, comprised of nearly 150 cadets, is the recipient of the Air Force’s “High Flight” award as the top “Large” detachment in the Air Force ROTC Southeast Region, which is comprised of 38 programs. In addition, faculty member Maj. Brock Lusk, has been named the Southeast Region’s Air Force ROTC Operations Officer of the Year.
“We are humbled by the recognition bestowed on our detachment and Major Lusk for their outstanding achievements,” said Col. Chris Mann, professor and chair, Department of Aerospace Studies. “It’s especially gratifying to be recognized, given we compete against much larger ROTC detachments in the region. It makes these accomplishments even more of an honor.”
The Air Force identified numerous accomplishments in citing Clemson’s detachment with the High Flight award, but among its biggest achievements is having 100 percent of cadets graduating from field training. Cadets’ are challenged mentally and physically in a three-week boot camp setting at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery, Ala.
“In addition to the perfect graduation rate, our cadets received many more distinguished and superlative performance awards than other detachments, given the number of cadets we send to field training,” Mann added.
The Clemson program was also selected by Air Force officials to beta test a new cadet evaluation system which individually assesses growth and performance at different stages of a cadet’s training. The evaluation system is expected to be rolled out to AFROTC detachments nationwide in the fall of 2017.
Lusk, an assistant professor of aerospace studies and the detachment’s operations director, instructs junior- and senior-level courses. In naming him the Southeast Region’s operation officer of the year, the Air Force identified numerous events he led, including Military Appreciation Day at Memorial Stadium football games, joint Army-Air Force commissioning ceremonies and Memorial Day activities.
Lusk has served tours of duty in Iraq, Yemen and Greenland and received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clemson. Ballistic missiles are his area of expertise, having commanded a flight of 10 nuclear armed Minuteman III and Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. He was recently recognized as a Roaring 10 member, which honors young Clemson alumni who graduated in the last 10 years and have made an impact in leadership, business or their community.
Mann said this year’s awards and the consistent Air Force recognition Detachment 770 has received in recent years is a credit to the support Clemson provides the program.
“The quality of our program is an extension of the quality of the experience and education that Clemson University delivers. We have great support from the university, from the College of Business all the way up to the president. We are also fortunate to have very talented and dedicated faculty members and alumni. Great people and support have enabled us to maintain a very consistent level of quality over the years.”
On average, Clemson’s Air Force ROTC program commissions 16 to 20 second lieutenants a year. The program’s roots date back to 1947 when the Air Force became an independent military service. Clemson was founded as a military school and has had more than 10,000 alumni who have served in the armed forces.
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