Gen. Schwartz addresses top ROTC cadets

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
The top Air Force ROTC cadets from around the country gathered in the nation's capitol and met the top uniformed Air Force officer as guests of the George C. Marshall Foundation while attending a leadership and networking seminar Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.

The cadets each were the recipient of the Marshall-Henry "Hap" Arnold Award from their respective detachment, awarded annually to outstanding senior cadets at each college and university with an Air Force ROTC program. Award winners are selected on the basis of integrity, leadership, scholarship, duty and physical conditioning.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz was the keynote speaker at the event. He provided insight and perspective to the cadets who are set to begin their careers as second lieutenants in the fall.

"There is nothing in the world as fun, fascinating and exciting as the possibilities and promise of a new career serving in uniform," General Schwartz said. "You are earning something of great worth through your hard work, development and dedication. I want you to be mindful of the great path you have ahead of you as you prepare for your commissioning."

The seminar gave the cadets the opportunity to talk with one another and exchange ideas on everything from detachment operations to their future as officers.

For Cadet Col. Nikita Werling, the chance to listen to General Schwartz talk about the future of the Air Force and their role in it was a highlight of the trip.

"Most cadets don't get to see the Air Force chief of staff, let alone get to hear him speak," said Cadet Colonel Werling, a senior at UCLA and the wing commander of her detachment. "This is a great opportunity to talk with other cadets and I can't wait to get back and tell them about what we learned here. I know the close-air-support mission and unmanned aircraft systems briefings are of great interest to all of us."

In addition to the networking opportunities, the seminar hosted several discussion panels for the cadets. Speakers included Air Force officers and civilians considered subject matter experts on such topics as national security, ethics and recruiting.

"We hope the cadets get the message that they are part of a bigger cause, larger than any one of us," said Brian Shaw, president of the Marshall Foundation. "The issues they address here are the issues they'll be facing as the future leaders of the Air Force."

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