|AFROTC Outreach Efforts Honor the Armed Services and Support the Local Community
Founded in 1949, Rensselaer’s Air Force Detachment 550 Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) program continues to live by the organization’s core values that are focused on “Integrity first, Service before self, and Excellence in all we do,” which has created opportunities for cadets to honor members of the armed services in the United States and also overseas as well as offer support in varied ways to the local community.
Last fall, cadets from Rensselaer were joined by members of the Arnold Air Society as they participated in the annual Stockade-athon race held in Schenectady, N.Y. Dubbed as the oldest “major” road race in the United States, the event has become a highlight of the racing season in upstate New York. The event also held special meaning for the student participants as they decided to run in honor of armed service members who had been deployed to Afghanistan.
In planning the event, members of Rensselaer’s AFROTC worked with Captain Cassie Ayotte, an Air Force flight nurse, and longtime member of the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club. Although based in Kabul Afghanistan, Ayotte uses much of her free time to coordinate several races similar to those being offered in the U.S. as a means of boosting team morale. “Running in these races adds a bit of normalcy to our lives in a place where we really do not have routines or schedules or workdays,” she said. “Anyone who regularly runs a race knows that even if you are not competitive, running takes you out of the training mindset and pattern that can get a little mundane.”
Additional outreach efforts include raising funds by coordinating the Run to Remember 5K road race to support Wounded Warrior Project in honor of the POWs and MIAs. Plans are also under way to host the 29th annual Drill Meet, which provides an opportunity for ROTC schools located throughout the northeast to compete in various marching formations.
More than 50 cadets are enrolled in the AFROTC program, which supports cadets enrolled at Rensselaer, the University at Albany, Siena College, and other institutions that are part of the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities.