Aug 29 2014 | by Kylie McFadden, Courtesy of The Daily Mississippian
Eight Air Force ROTC cadets received prop and wings pins in a ceremony on August 28.
The ceremony, which took place on the Circle in front of the Lyceum, denotes the graduation of an Air Force ROTC cadet from cadet status and promotion to officer candidate status for the eight recipients.
According to Lt. Col. Mark Suttuth II, commander of the UM Air Force ROTC, this is the first major milestone on the road to becoming an Air Force second lieutenant.
After two years of training an average of ten hours per week, a competitive selection process begins for summer field training between a cadet’s sophomore and junior year. The national acceptance rate for this summer field training is 47 percent, though UM candidates have an 80 percent acceptance rate, according to Suttuth.
Dylan Beahm, a sophomore Cadet Third Class in the Air Force ROTC, said that the prop and wings is important because it reflects the hard work of all the juniors who spent the last 2 years getting ready for field training.
“They dedicated two years of college to spend 23 days of their summers at Maxwell Air Force Base being trained to become the next officers of the Air Force,” Beahm said.
Summer field training took place at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, and consisted of a month of intensive training.
As far as the future goes, the officer candidates look forward to more specialized training in a variety of military fields in the pursuit of their future appointment to the United States Air Force as second lieutenants.
“This Christmas, we’ll put them through training for what actual job they’re going to do in the Air Force,” said Suttuth.
This summer, the officer candidates will be selected for summer programs in a variety of Air Force and military, such as glide school, jump school and Operation Air Force. Two years from now, upon their graduation, the officer candidates will be commissioned as second lieutenants.
Beahm said earning the prop and wings is his next goal.
“The prop and wings is the next step in the process of me becoming an officer in the best Air Force the world has ever seen,” Beahm said.
The prop and wings emblem was created in the 1920s and was used as a branch insignia for the United States Army Air Corps from 1926 until 1947.