Air Force ROTC to participate in character and leadership symposium


Several members of the TCU Air Force ROTC are heading to the U.S. Air Force Academy this week to learn about leading in challenging situations.

Four cadets and one officer from TCU will be attending the Air Force’s twenty-second annual National Character and Leadership Symposium from Feb. 26-27 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The symposium is designed to give Air Force personnel a better understanding of leadership and guidance on how to develop a “sound moral character,” according to the event’s website.

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The event will primarily consist of military-related speakers sharing personal leadership experiences and advice, said Capt. David Schulwitz, recruiting flight commander for TCU Air Force ROTC.

“They will be the kind of discussions that make [the members] scratch their head and think, ‘What am I going to do in that situation or position which that person who was telling this story was in?’” Schulwitz said.

Schulwitz said the symposium, geared toward college-aged students, should give cadets a better understanding of what to expect once they are commissioned to become officers. 

“A lot of talks are going to be like ‘Hey, this is what you’re going to face when you become an officer, this is what I had to do, this is my experience, this is why it’s a tough decision, this is why you should to this,’” Schulwitz said. “You need to set a list of core values for yourself and let that guide you.”

Schulwitz said speakers at the event will include both active and retired military personnel in addition to representatives from major corporations.

“A lot of times military people get out and work for companies like Lockheed Martin, especially in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, or Boeing,” Schulwitz said.

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Expected speakers include Chris Chadwick, president and chief executive officer of Boeing Defense, Space & Security; Col. Gordon “Keith” Watts, director of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance at Headquarters Air Force Space Command; and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody.

Schulwitz said chief master sergeant of the Air Force is the highest enlisted rank in the Air Force.

The TCU cadets will also get a glimpse of an actual military academy opposed to an ROTC detachment at a college or university.

“Cadets will be staying in the dorms with the students attending the Air Force Academy, so they will get to see what life is like at the Air Force Academy,” Schulwitz said.

Schulwitz plans to accompany the TCU group. He said they will be driving to Colorado Springs. Two cadets from Baylor University and four from the University of North Texas are expected to travel with them.