By: Captain Victor Salum
The primary mission of the United States Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) is to develop leaders of character for tomorrow’s Air Force. Here at SJSU, the program is designed to recruit, educate, and commission officer candidates as the Department of the Air Force’s future leaders. As SJSU cadets, also known as Spartan Airmen, progress through the program they are taught two elements of effective leadership which are taking care of people and mission accomplishment. One of the competencies to reach mission success is to build collaborative relationships. Fostering collaborative relationships continues to be an integral component in mission success of the Department of the Air Force. For example, building partnerships with coalition countries to provide humanitarian assistance and emergency response in crisis events or maintaining relationship with the different organizations such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to exchange scientific research and technology development information on space launch and range safety, satellite communication and other areas in the realms of space has played a vital role in the Department of the Air Force’s mission.
Though the AFROTC program at SJSU does not often collaborate with organizations that large of a scale such as NASA, the Aerospace Studies Department continues to seek resources and collaborative opportunities with other organizations to help in our Spartan Airmen. Currently, we have been working with Dr. Jonathan Roth, History Professor in the College of Social Sciences, to help in the development of Spartan Airmen. As many might not know, our program does not only house SJSU students but also students from other universities such as UC Santa Cruz, Stanford University, and many local community colleges, who are commonly referred to as crosstown cadets (also Spartan Airmen). One of the challenges for crosstown Spartan Airmen when they are at the SJSU campus is finding a quiet space where they can study or meet with fellow Spartan Airmen as they wait between Aerospace Studies courses. Collaborating with Dr. Roth has helped alleviate this challenge by providing the Burdick Military History Project space for our crosstown Spartan Airmen. To this day, our Spartan Airmen have utilized the space to study for their core academic courses, attendance in virtual classes, mentoring sessions, and more recently a virtual US Air & Space Force Career Day where Spartan Airmen had the opportunity to ask active duty members about their respective career field. The Aerospace Studies Department’s mission is to develop exemplary servant-leaders of character to lead our country into the 21st century and in order to achieve that they must be provided the tools and resources necessary to succeed even if it is something as simple as a space to study. Collaborative efforts between Dr. Roth and the Aerospace Studies Department have aided in the development of our future US Air & Space Force leaders.