75 Years of San José State Air Force ROTC

By Benjamin Goirigolzarri

For 75 years, San José State University, the College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS) and its Department of Aerospace Studies, and the United States Air Force have worked in close partnership to develop leaders of character who are equipped to lead our nation’s military. The Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) at San José State University was established shortly after the inception of the U.S. Air Force in 1947 and has since seen its graduates lead across the private and public sector. Through the College of Health and Human Sciences’ unwavering support and rigorous curriculum, Detachment 045 has produced Air Force Senior Leaders, Air Force Wing Commanders, leaders in academia and industry, and U.S. Representatives committed to serving American interests both domestic and abroad.

On Thursday, May 4, San José State University’s President Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson joined Air Force Senior Leaders to celebrate 75 years of committed partnership. The event featured remarks from SJSU’s President, Moffett Field’s 129th Rescue Wing Vice Wing Commander, Colonel Jeremy Guenet, Air Force ROTC Commander, Colonel Corey Ramsby, and Detachment 045’s Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Joshua Sullivan. The event also included former Detachment 045 Commander, Lt Col (Retired) Kirk Brown, whose father was the very first Commander in 1947. They collectively highlighted the countless benefits shared by SJSU, CHHS, AFROTC, and the local community even in the honest light of historical challenges. Lieutenant Colonel Sullivan echoed this with, “Our student population is small, but they are mighty, and will become immediate ambassadors carrying the values they learn at SJSU and Air Force ROTC across the world.”

Detachment 045 graduates will immediately tackle increasingly complex and demanding challenges that the world poses to its leaders. SJSU, CHHS, and its AFROTC program continue to prepare future leaders with the requisite critical-thinking skills, leadership experience and preparation, and the core values needed to navigate wicked problems and to ethically and morally command our nation’s military. The success of the AFROTC program extends beyond retention rates, graduation rates, or the impressive titles held by countless Det 045 graduates. It is measured by producing leaders of character whose “Spartan Airmen core values are so essential to who they are that they overflow into every interaction, changing our community and world for the better.”

Toward the end of the evening, AFROTC cadets and their families gathered alongside SJSU and CHHS leadership, Air Force Leadership, and the community leaders in attendance for a photo. The stage light lit up their faces, as if to recognize the illustrious lives of Det 045’s graduates and announce the promise of greatness among the attendees. Even after 75 years, the relationship between Air Force ROTC, the College of Health and Human Sciences, and San José State University continues to grow, galvanized by their shared commitment to integrity, service, and excellence. Here’s to 75 more years.

“The society that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting by fools.” – Thucydides

Forging Partnership wth California’s Air National Guard, 129th Rescue Wing

By: Captain Victor Salum and Staff Sergeant Dat Trinh

Moffett Airfield Visit

Early in the semester, Detachment 045 (SJSU) and Detachment 085 (UC Berkeley) AFROTC cadets had the opportunity to visit the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing (RQW) located at Moffett Airfield in Sunnyvale, CA.  The primary purpose of the visit was to learn about the 129th RQW mission and how they support both the California Governor and the President of the United States in times of emergency.  The cadets had the opportunity to speak to some of the military members that call Moffett Airfield home, learning about their primary career field which range from pilots, medical officers, intelligence officers, security forces, special operations, aircraft operations, finance officers, contracting specialists and more.  The cadets were excited to visit and learn about the 129th RQW but the highlight of the day were the incentive flights where cadets had the opportunity to fly on one of the two aircrafts stationed at Moffett Airfield, the HH-60G Pave Hawk and the HC-130J Combat King II aircraft.  The pilots of the aircrafts gave a tour of the Bay Area with the flight path going over SJSU, Stanford University, UC Berkeley and even historical landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.  This visit was possible due to our Detachment Commander & Aerospace Studies Department Chair, Lt Col Joshua Sullivan, relationship with the 129th Rescue Squadron Commander, Lt Col Rudolph Taute.  Both graduated and received their commission from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO, went through undergraduate pilot training in 2004, and have been friends ever since.  The relationship that they have built over the years helped to further enhance some of the AFROTC training objectives we are required to meet each academic year.

Active Shooter Training

With the increase of mass shootings over the past decade, the cadets of Detachment 045 at SJSU had the opportunity to partner with SJSU’s University Police Department and the 129th Security Forces Squadron from Moffett Airfield to receive active shooter training.  Cadets learned through in-class briefings provided by trained specialists what an Active Shooter is, the unpredictability and quick involvement of an active shooter situation, and how individuals must prepare both mentally and physically to deal with an active shooter situation.  Shortly after, cadets went through multiple active shooter scenarios and applied what they had learned in the classroom.  Active shooter training is important training that does not stop after cadets commission into the Department of the Air Force, it is required training they must receive even when they enter active duty.  An overview of the active shooter training may be viewed in the following video link. https://www.dvidshub.net/video/837585/129th-security-forces-train-afrotc-cadets

Impacts of Strategic Partnerships: Collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Roth

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.

Air Force ROTC Receives Visit from Staff Assistance Team


Air Force ROTC, Detachment 045 recently had a Staff Assistance Visit team from its regional headquarters to provide guidance and advice after reviewing key compliance areas.

According to Lt. Col. Michael Pecher, “the Detachment always welcomes opportunities like this as part of its continuous improvement process and will use insights gained to continue to streamline its robust processes and operations.”

U.S. Air Force Senior Leader Visits SJSU’s Air Force ROTC Program

The Department of Aerospace Studies hosted Mr. Gabe Camarillo, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Taking time out from his immensely busy schedule, Camarillo carved out time to visit the Air Force ROTC (AFROTC) program to discuss how the Air Force cares about its present and future personnel.

Rose Herrera, Vice Mayor, city of San José, joined the group to welcome Camarillo to San José State University (SJSU) and recognize the great work SJSU’s AFROTC it has accomplished. Herrera noted that SJSU’s AFROTC program provides great leadership skills and received highly effective scores during the 2015 inspection by the Air Force.

“How grateful and honored we are to have Assistant Secretary Camarillo here in San José. Thank you to all of the men and women in the Air Force for their commitment to serve,” said Herrera as she wanted to let cadets know that elected leaders care about their service.

Herrera is an Air Force veteran and the San José City Council Liaison for Veteran’s Affairs.

Vice Mayor, Gabe Camarillo and SJSU AFROTC

Camarillo talked about the issues that are relevant with future careers and how ROTC programs influences change. He focused on the talent pool coming into the Air Force and shared his ideas on how to bring in talent.

Leveraging technology and using more determined efforts through ROTC programs, promoting the range of careers in the Air Force, recognizing changing demographics, and promoting diversity. Camarillo said that diversity is a key aspect in the Air Force.

“Critical to the Air Force and its success is to maintain knowledge from diverse perspectives, experiences and cultures.”

Gabe speaking

Lieutenant Colonel (Lt. Col.) Michael Pecher, Department Chair of Aerospace Studies, said that the visit from Camarillo allowed cadets to see and know that senior leaders in the Air Force care about them, the AFROTC program and the staff, academic community and local community. It gave the cadets a perspective on where things are headed in the future for recruiting, retention, and career aspects. In addition, cadets were able to voice their own thoughts on how to improve the AFROTC program.

“Resources are never unlimited, so we have to find creative ways to do what we’d like with the resources we have. This takes creativity and good ideas, to include ideas from young people of this generation, a theme that came up a couple of times during the visit,” said Lt. Col. Pecher.

It’s not often that cadets get the opportunity to meet senior leaders in the Air Force. Usually cadets attend an event outside of SJSU or at a base. However, within the last six months, SJSU has had two senior leader visits. The AFROTC program presented Camarillo with a challenge coin as a token of appreciation. Challenge coins in the military are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale.

Click here to read more about Mr. Gabe Camarillo.

Gabe Camarillo and Rose Herrera met with University Officials after the visit with AFROTC Cadets.