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UTA Air Force ROTC students earn national recognition for academic achievement

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: liberal arts, student life, students

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The U.S. Air Force ROTC has named the Air Force ROTC Detachment 845 co-located at The University of Texas at Arlington among the best in the nation for academic achievement.

Members of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 845 co-located at The University of Texas at Arlington.

The unit is ranked No. 7 of 145 Air Force ROTC units nationwide for academics, a marked improvement from No. 119 last year. Detachment 845 is ranked No. 2 for grade point average among 36 schools in the Southwest region. Only UT Austin is ranked higher. With an enrollment of 39 cadets in the UTA unit, leaders say the rankings are particularly telling of the quality of the program and faculty. They attribute the ranking increase largely to a re-focus on academics and a more selective program.

“I advise students that if they are struggling in lower level classes, then they need to focus their time on courses, not ROTC,” said Lt. Col. Darin M. Gregg, commander of the AFROTC Detachment 845.

“Also, our field training is becoming more competitive with grape point averages as one of the factors that the selection board considers. The average GPA selection for field training this year was a 3.24, which naturally weeded out the lower GPA’s in the program and increased the overall average.”

Air Force ROTC Detachment 845 is co-located at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. Cadets complete their bachelor’s degree there or at UTA, Dallas Baptist University or Texas Wesleyan University. Additionally, it is possible to complete the first two years of AFROTC at Weatherford College and Tarrant County College.

“UTA students choosing to participate in Air Force ROTC have the unique opportunity to join with students from six different Dallas-Fort Worth universities and colleges as they train and compete to become Air Force officers,” said Lt. Col. Gregg. 

“UTA’s associated Air Force ROTC Detachment 845 consistently ranks among the best in the nation for academics, physical fitness and leadership development, with more than 50 percent of the unit’s cadets receiving distinguished graduate and superior performance awards at this year’s field training course.”

Cadet Alex Preisser, a UTA engineering major, served as cadet commander during the 2015-16 school year. He earned top academic marks and received the Kenneth and Kaylynn Caldwell Leadership Excellence Award.

“Education is one of the most important things that someone can give themselves,” said Preisser. “I wanted to seek a great education while also continuing on the path to serving in our military, and the AFROTC program at UTA was an ideal place for me to accomplish both goals. The quality of learning at UTA and the quality of people on this campus have given me invaluable experience that I know will lead to success, not only in my military career, but in life overall.”

Cadet Alex Preisser, far right, received a monetary prize and ceremonial sword as recipient of the Kenneth and Kaylynn Caldwell Leadership Excellence Award.

Preisser’s plans for the future include undergraduate pilot training and a long career of flying for the military. “After I retire, I’d love to be able to put my engineering degree to work at Lockheed or even NASA,” he added.

Elisabeth Cawthon, interim dean for the College of Liberal Arts, which directs the military science program, agrees that a world-class education at UTA combined with military science experience will successfully prepare UTA Air Force ROTC cadets for their career.

“As underscored by the UTA Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact, more accurate analyses lead to more confident decision-making,” Cawthon said. “Better decisions can mean greater operational efficiencies, cost reductions, and reduced risks from our future military leaders.”

AFROTC Detachment 845 is one of the few detachments nationwide selected to pilot-test a new program to accurately evaluate and provide feedback for cadets of all levels starting this fall.

“This new evaluation system, if implemented and followed through correctly, should make every single one of us stronger airmen,” said Lt. Col. Gregg. “The quality of our program is one of the best in the state, one of the best in the nation.”

For more information about the UTA Air Force ROTC program, visit http://catalog.uta.edu/liberalarts/aerospacestudies/

-- Cat Page, contributing writer

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution of about 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

For more on the Strategic Plan, see Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.