Tarleton and TCU to combine forces for joint AFROTC program


Joseph Wilson JTAC News

Tarleton ROTC presenting the colors.

Stephen Lowe, Contributor

For the first time in a century, Tarleton State University will be including another branch of service for their ROTC program. Tarleton has entered into an agreement with Texas Christian University to allow cadets to enroll in their Air Force ROTC program, giving students the opportunity to graduate as a commissioned officer in the Air Force.

Cadets will be enrolled in aerospace studies (the Air Force’s equivalent of Army’s military sciences) that, for the time being, will take place at the TCU campus in Fort Worth due to lack of personnel required to support the program at Tarleton.

Retired U.S. Air Force Col. Kenny Weldon, Commandant and Senior Director of Strategic Studies, expresses his hope that the program will be brought to the Tarleton campus here in Stephenville.

“What we have the potential to do is, if we get enough students to enroll, they’ll send an instructor here,” Weldon said.

Cadets who are enrolled in the program will take one aerospace studies course in the fall and spring semesters. These courses are broken into two major blocks of emphasis. In the first two years, cadets will learn general military knowledge about the Air Force. The second two years focuses on gaining leadership abilities and learning duties and responsibilities that are entailed as an Air Force officer.

In the summer, students will participate in specialized training at an Air Force base, depending on what particular lesson they will be taught during that time.

Scholarships will be available to students to pay their tuition in a similar way to what the Army does through their ROTC. There is a service commitment of five years required with the scholarship through the Air Force.

Weldon said that talks with TCU or the new Air Force ROTC started when he was reaching out to Tarleton Alumni active in the military. He was looking for Army captains that had served for about a decade to come speak to cadets about what they were doing in the military today and how Tarleton had prepared them.

Instead, Weldon came across U.S. Air Force Captain Patrick Kerr, Tarleton alumnus, who is an Assistant Professor for TCU’s Air Force ROTC program. Kerr agreed to come speak to cadets, and thus led Weldon to the talk of bringing the Air Force to Tarleton. Weldon was elated that a “Tarleton graduate is directly responsible for helping bring the Air Force ROTC to Tarleton.”

Kerr will be coming to speak to cadets in April, and will provide remarks at this year’s Silver Taps ceremony. The ceremony will be on April 20 and will take place at Alumni Island around the John Tarleton statue.

If a student is not interested in the Army or the Air Force ROTC programs, a Marine Corps Platoon Leader Course will also be offered. Unlike the ROTC programs in other branches that make you a commissioned officer once you graduate, the Marine Corps PLC significantly raises your chances to be admitted to their Officer Candidate School. This will mark the first time that incoming freshmen will an option of Army ROTC, Air Force ROTC or Marine Corps PLC.

For more information on the ROTC program, visit the first floor of Traditions South or call 254-968- 9188.