Welcome to the web page of Air Force ROTC Detachment 420 at University of Minnesota Duluth. We are also the detachment that supports students/cadets from College of Saint Scholastica, Lake Superior College and University of Wisconsin Superior. Let me take this opportunity to introduce you to our detachment and explain what makes us different from other AFROTC detachments.
AFROTC has two parts. The first part is the academic class. The cadre officers teach the cadets everything they need to know about the Air Force. There is an academic class for each year of the program. Leadership Lab is the second part. It has two parts also, Leadership Lab and fitness training. The Leadership Lab portion gives cadets hands-on training including drill and ceremony, leadership challenges and briefings about the Air Force. Cadets participate in two fitness training sessions each week and they get a good work-out.
Leadership Lab and the fitness sessions are organized and run by the upper class cadets. Cadre provides the objectives and the cadets plan and run each session.
Most AFROTC detachments are the same. Our headquarters provides us the academic curriculum and materials so we are all teaching the same courses. The differences are how these are presented, the facilities, size of the detachment and the overall environment. Before making a choice on colleges and AFROTC detachments, I recommend you give some thought to what you would consider important for these factors and visit each one.
At Detachment 420, you will find a smaller detachment, about 55 to 75 cadets. This allows the cadets and cadre to know each other better. The detachment is in the basement of Darland Administration building and is connected to the rest of UMD so it is very accessible to the cadets. Any given hour and day, you will find cadets hanging out between classes because of this and it’s a relaxed environment. We spend a lot of time mentoring the cadets beyond providing them the course material.
The first few minutes of every Leadership Lab is spent with AS200 (second year) cadets mentoring AS100 (first year) cadets. All cadets get at least three formal feedback sessions from their cadet supervisor each semester. They also get formal feedback sessions, usually two, every semester from their cadre instructor. Cadre offices are right off the lounge area of the detachment so cadets have easy access to us at all times and we enjoy mentoring. A cadet will never have to wonder how they are doing. While I’m the detachment commander, this will always be the environment.
Almost all of our AFROTC functions are done indoors. The fitness sessions are held in UMD’s fitness center and field house. Leadership Lab is held in the field house or a lecture hall. Because we share these facilities with the school, we have to do them early in the morning, at 6:15 am. At first, cadets will complain about the early hours but, within a couple weeks, they adjust and then actually like it because it helps them get their day started. You don’t have to believe me, ask one of our cadets when you visit.
During the first year we simply help new cadets adjust and learn basic information about the program and the Air Force. With this, by the end of their first year, they can make an informed decision about continuing. Roughly, 50 percent of freshmen cadets continue. This sounds like a low number but, the Air Force isn’t for everyone and we only commission about 2000 cadets a year so that percentage works for us. There is no commitment during the first year.
I’m glad you took the time to read this and gave me an opportunity to introduce you to AFROTC Detachment 420. I encourage you to visit us and learn more.