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301 FW commander inspires future Air Force leaders

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Jeremy Roman
  • 301st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

301st Fighter Wing Commander Col. Allen Duckworth served as the keynote speaker for the Texas Christian University Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 845’s Spring Dining Out Ceremony, April 23.

Duckworth shared several impactful combat moments from his Air Force career, lessons learned and leadership advice.

“You never know when but your nation will call you, so you need to be ready. Prepare yourselves now and make sure you take your jobs seriously,” he said. “Every now and then, you’re going to make some mistakes. When you make those mistakes, make sure you own them and use them.”

He concluded with these words.

“The power of interpersonal relationships and morale are some of the most valuable things that can get you through some of the most difficult times,” Duckworth said. “You’re going to have amazing Air Force and Space Force careers and I’m excited for each one of you.”

This military tradition can be traced back prior to WWI and WWII where victories and feats of heroism are celebrated in order to bring about cohesion and camaraderie within a specific unit. The ceremony also allows guests to be present, unlike the Dining In, and also includes remembering those service members who are not able to physically be present due to deployments, being a prisoner of war/missing in action or paying the ultimate sacrifice.

Many of these cadets were attending their first in-person Dining Out due to the pandemic while other cadets were attending their last as they are one week away from graduation and beginning their potential commissioned assignments. In his first Dining Out with this detachment, Lt. Col. James Fagan, AFROTC Det. 845 commander, addressed his cadets as well as the evening’s guests.

“I cannot thank you enough for the support you divide to these cadets be it from a brother or sister or a parent’s standpoint or a friend, you really do make a difference in their lives. Thank you for supporting their dreams and their ambitions by keeping them on that path,” Fagan said. “You are making a difference in their lives…I want you to know that. You are making a difference in this nation. Congratulations cadets on completing your semester. To our commissionees, I look forward to seeing you in your gold bars and seeing you at an Air Force base.”

TCU is the detachment’s host school but many of the cadets are enrolled at several cross-town schools: University of Texas-Arlington, Dallas Baptist University, Texas Wesleyan University, Weatherford College and Tarrant County College. Cadet 1st Lt. Keven Fuentes was a driving force behind this event’s coordination and will also graduate from the University of Texas-Arlington next month.

“To anyone thinking about joining AFROTC I’ll say this from my experience when it comes to the unknown, would you rather graduate college without a secure job or would you like to graduate college with some sort of career path already in place?,” said Fuentes, a recent selection for the U.S. Space Force. “There are pros and cons to both sides, but I think the pros of ROTC outweighs what may be out there in the [initial] civilian market especially for 22 – 26 year olds. It opens up so many doors for you than what you would think.”

Texas Christian University’s Air Force ROTC Det. 845 mission is to help students develop the leadership skills required to become a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. Through intense training and academic course work, ROTC opens the door for entry into the finest Air Force in the world as TCU cadets have gone on to succeed in a range of exciting career fields from medical to aviation. The goal is to commission 2nd lieutenants into the Air Force after evaluating leadership characteristics while ensuring Air Force ROTC and degree requirements are completed. The program also provides opportunities to compete for Air Force ROTC scholarships. For more information: www.afrotc.tcu.edu, email: tcuafrotc@tcu.edu or call 817-257-7461.

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