VALDOSTA – VSU cadets recently had a visit from the Air Force ROTC Commander to explore the flight simulation room.
Colonel John Caranta, commander of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Southeast Region, recently visited Valdosta State University’s Detachment 172, where he participated in candid conversations with cadets and cadre.
“Colonel Caranta is interested in the health and well-being of our staff and our cadets,” said U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Lucas M. Brommer, who assumed command of VSU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 172 in July 2022. “He was excited to engage the cadets in conversation, particularly about their future role as military leaders.”
Caranta had an opportunity to learn more about VSU’s Air Interest and Ground School, particularly the state-of-the-art virtual reality flight simulation room that was conceived and constructed by the university’s cadets. The project was completed in Spring 2022.
Cadet leadership previously shared how many students join VSU’s Detachment 172 in hopes of becoming a military aviator upon graduating and commissioning. The virtual reality simulators give VSU’s cadets a competitive edge when competing for rated jobs — pilots, combat systems operators, remotely piloted aircraft pilots, and air battle managers — within the Air Force by allowing them to learn aviation knowledge and practice flying through the on-campus Air Interest and Ground School.
“Colonel Caranta enjoyed the experience of our virtual reality flight simulators and is interested to see how this resource motivates cadets to compete for aviation-related career fields in the future,” Brommer said.
VSU’s Spring/Summer 2022 graduating cadet class included five pilot selects, two combat air system operators, three remotely piloted aircraft pilots, and one air battle manager.
Caranta shared recommendations for how VSU’s Air Force ROTC program can better recruit enlisted airmen. He also helped the cadets gain perspective regarding challenging situations they may face as individuals or as a group.
“He motivated our younger cadets to be above average and compete well against other cadets nationwide,” Brommer added. “One cadet asked about how to prepare for the challenges of military life. Colonel Caranta reminded us of the Air Force’s pillars of comprehensive fitness — mental, physical, social, and spiritual. As long as these are strong and balanced, Colonel Caranta assured our cadets that they will bounce back more quickly from challenges we all face.”
The Air Force ROTC’s Southeast Region encompasses 38 detachments in nine states and Puerto Rico and is the largest region by cadet population in the Air Force ROTC.
Committed to developing the leaders of tomorrow, VSU’s Air Force ROTC program has a current enrollment of 56 active students, each one working to become an officer in the United States Air Force or Space Force while earning a college degree. Ten of those students are on track to graduate in May, after which they will have the opportunity to pursue their career dreams as they defend and protect the nation.
“VSU’s Detachment 172 is a fantastic Air Force ROTC program, and I am humbled to have stewardship over this group for three years,” Brommer said. “Last summer I walked into an organization that upholds high standards and produces quality leaders for our Air Force and Space Force. Our cadets impress me every day by their attitude, motivation, and commitment to our Air Force core values — integrity, service, and excellence.
“Furthermore, the support we receive from VSU, Moody Air Force Base, and the greater Valdosta community adds tremendous value to this program. I am excited to build upon these relationships and to increase connections with our impressive Detachment 172 alumni. Together we will continue to develop leaders of character to safeguard our freedoms for another generation.”
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