TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE, Alabama –
The Air Force ROTC Detachment 015 hosted a team of aviation professionals from the 12th Training Squadron at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Sept. 24 to educate and inspire current and future Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC cadets toward rated careers.
The “12 TRS T-6 Fly-In” took place at the historic Moton Field in Tuskegee, Alabama.
Lt. Col. Michael Castlen, 12th TRS commander, piloted one of two T-6 Texan II aircraft. His 13-member team included pilots with fighter, mobility, and drone backgrounds, along with combat systems officers, civilian counterparts and enlisted aviators.
“Increasing rated officer diversity is vital to the future of our service and the effectiveness of my squadron,” Castlen said. “Flying an approach into the hometown of the original Tuskegee Airman and being able to inspire the ‘New Tuskegee Airmen’ from Det. 015 is an honor I’m going to be able to tell my grandkids about.”
The fly-in followed a 100% recruitment increase in August 2022 for the detachment.
“We put a lot of work into recruiting over the summer and early fall to restore the detachment to have viable numbers,” said Maj. Nicole White, Det. 015 operations officer. “Now we want to broaden their perspectives and show them all the amazing career opportunities the Department of the Air Force offers. Our professional wingmen from the 12 TRS were instrumental to helping us achieve our end state.”
The T-6 fly-in follows a Maxwell Air Force Base professional development trip the previous week where cadets were able to meet with Air University general officers and visit mission and operations support units to get exposed to the non-rated opportunities available to them.
“The cadets of Det. 015 were true professionals with minds wide open,” said Brig. Gen. Houston Cantwell, the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development commander. “The sooner we can captivate the hearts and minds of our AFROTC cadets, the more time we have to dedicate toward their academic and professional development as future Air and Space Force leaders. Exposure efforts like this are great examples of how to get after that.”
Cadet Jaiden Turner, a freshman scholarship recipient and 2026 projected graduate, was among several cadets that attended both events.
“I never realized how many different opportunities were available to me in the Air Force,” Turner said. “My primary goal is to be a pilot, and the generals from last week and the team from the 12th TRS codified that. I am excited to know that I have so many great options if ‘Plan A’ doesn’t work out.”