Air Force ROTC cadets learn leadership skills for future

Mary Booth

Seven cadets from the Air Force ROTC attended the National Character and Leadership Symposium (NCLS) at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in late February.

Samuel Pittman, freshman computer science major and Air Force ROTC cadet, said the NCLS is a conference that brings together cadets from across the nation to listen to a number of renowned speakers.

Pittman said he attended the NCLS for the first time this semester and learned valuable leadership skills that will benefit him in his future Air Force career.

Through the inspirational stories told by the speaker, Pittman said he learned a lot about himself.

“There were various stories told about morality and about doing the right thing,” he said. “It kind of made you dig a little deeper about what you really think about certain issues and how you would handle certain things.”

The best way to learn how to lead is by listening to other people, Pittman said.

“There are certain things you just never would have thought of, and you wouldn’t have had any idea how to handle them,” he said. “But after hearing the speakers, I learned how they did it and it makes perfect sense.”

Kristen Boye, sophomore computer science major and Air Force ROTC cadet, also attended the NCLS. She said she learned many ways to be a quality leader.

“In order to be a leader, you have to stand out,” Boye said. “In the big scheme of things if you really want to make an impact when you’re out there on active duty, you have to really incorporate passion into what your doing.”

Boye said when it comes to being a leader, it is important to go with your gut instinct.

“You have to really follow your intuition and every little hunch that you have,” Boye said. “You have to put your personality into your work and know your people in order to make the best possible outcome.”

Capt. Phillip Bergeron, the recruiting flight commander for the Air Force ROTC, said it was important for the cadets to attend the NCLS so they could continue to improve on their leadership.

“By giving our cadets the opportunity to go to this, they get to progress their understanding of the world and their understanding of how to approach situations from a leadership standpoint,” Beregeron said.

Bergeron said the Air Force needs quality leaders that will be able to lead their way through any type of mission.

“The United States in general looks to its military for leadership,” he said. “That’s what they expect out of its military leaders: to lead, to be able to make the tough decisions based off of what’s in the best interests of the country.”

Bergeron said that thanks to the leadership conference, the cadets will have gained perspectives that could put them in more advantageous positions.

Contact Mary Booth at [email protected].