RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas –
One Air Force ROTC cadet with local ties was recently recognized by the Commander-in-Chief for an outstanding beginning to her military career.
Now 2nd Lt. Beth Kaufhold, a graduate of AFROTC Det. 825 at the University of Texas, was commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates at the White House.
Lieutenant Kaufhold was chosen to represent the state of Texas in the joint ceremony after being named Distinguished Graduate of her detachment and the number one navigator selectee for the fiscal year.
"I think it is not only a tribute to the hard work I put in, but also to the hard work of our Cadre at Detachment 825, and all the cadets who took the time to train me," Lieutenant Kaufhold said.
One cadet was chosen to represent each state in the ceremony, and Lieutenant Kaufhold was one of 16 Air Force cadets chosen.
"The other cadets were the most down-to-earth, humble people I have ever met," Lieutenant Kaufhold said. "All were very grateful for the opportunity they had been given, and I cannot wait to serve next to each of them in the years to come."
A graduate of Randolph High School, Lieutenant Kaufhold's roots are close to home. Her father is retired Lt. Col. Michael Kaufhold, who currently works as a contractor at Air Education and Training Command's Plans, Requirements and Programs.
During her time in Washington, D.C., Lieutenant Kaufhold had the opportunity to meet many prominent Washington figures, including General John Corley, the Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, who coined the cadets after speaking to them at the Women's Memorial, and General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who attended the commissioning and spoke with some of the cadets individually.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also attended the commissioning, administered the Oath and took pictures with each new 2nd Lieutenant.
"The best event during the trip was when we were at the White House, standing in the East Room with the Secretary administering the Oath," Lieutenant Kaufhold said. "The President was also standing on stage nearby. No words can describe that moment."
"The thing that made the trip most memorable, and the part I will definitely never forget, was that I had the chance to share it with my parents," she said. "They mean so much to me, and to have two people who are such a huge part of my success, right by my side, made the entire trip that much more amazing."
Lieutenant Kaufhold also received a courtesy call here May 2 with Gen. William Looney III, AETC commander.
"It's an inspiration to me to get to meet people like General Looney and know that even the highest leadership cares about what ROTC members are doing as cadets," she said.
Lieutenant Kaufhold will head to Naval Air Station Pensacola at the end of June to begin undergraduate navigator training.
"I am so excited to become part of the best Air Force in the world, and cannot wait to see what is in store for me in the years to come," Lieutenant Kaufhold said. "I think it is amazing to look back and see how much work it takes to build a cadet into a Lieutenant.
"Standing at the White House having those bars put on made all the work worth it," she said.