CSU Air Force ROTC Detachment 90 was recently recognized as the best large detachment in the country by the Air Force’s Air University.
Colorado State University’s Air Force ROTC detachment was recently recognized as the best in the nation after winning the prestigious Right of Line Award.
The honor — presented by the Air Force’s Air University, part of the Air Education and Training Command — selected CSU’s Air Force ROTC Detachment 90 as the top large detachment in the country, besting 49 other large university detachments across the country.
The annual Right of Line Award recognizes the top Air Force ROTC detachments by evaluating cadet performance, community service, officer production, recruiting and scholarships. The AFROTC commander at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama selects the Right of Line Award recipient from the winners of four separate regional competitions.
CSU has won the Northwest Region’s High Flight Award for top large detachment four of the past five years. The Northwest Region includes 34 universities in 15 states, from Illinois to Alaska.
“To be named No. 1 in the country means a lot,” said Col. Tim Childress, the commander of Detachment 90 and professor of aerospace studies at CSU. “There are a lot of great schools and cadets out there, so hitting that bar is pretty tough.”
The ‘Mighty Ninety’ family
Detachment 90 is built upon a culture of family.
Known as the “Mighty Ninety,” Detachment 90 is made up of more than 200 cadets from CSU as well as the University of Northern Colorado, Aims Community College and Front Range Community College.
Lt. Colonel Adam Jung, assistant professor of aerospace studies, credited the success of Detachment 90 to the juniors and seniors who help to set the tone. “We’re creating a culture of family and belonging and synergy of success,” he said.
Joel Topps, a senior computer science major in the College of Natural Sciences, agreed with Jung’s assessment.
“What sets Detachment 90 apart from the rest is that we act as a family and all strive to make each other better,” he said. “It isn’t just about how I can better myself, but how I can ensure the success of my fellow cadets as well.”
Fellow cadet Donovan Vesey, a senior business administration major in the College of Business, added that they support each other through teamwork and encouragement, with a common goal of becoming an Air Force officer.
“Our leadership provides mentorship, training and an environment in which cadets can grow as leaders,” Vesey said. “A family also supports its community. In the past year, cadets from Detachment 90 volunteered their time to support CSU events such as football home games and provided services such as campus snow removal and trash pickup.”
A strong partnership
Both Childress and Jung pointed to the ROTC Advisory Committee at CSU, a partnership between Air Force and Army ROTC personnel as well as key CSU faculty and administrators, as a fulcrum to the detachment’s success. Jung said many universities do not have such committees, but at CSU it helps keep the university and detachment synchronized.
“It all goes back to our tradition as a land-grant university,” Childress said. “When President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act, it said military training would be conducted at land-grant schools. That history continues today.”
Evidence of Detachment 90’s success includes the commissioning in 2019 of 20 new Air Force second lieutenants as pilots, combat systems officers and intelligence officers, among other job roles.
Detachment 90 also has secured financial support from alumni and friends of the University to improve facilities, and is regularly active in the community, most recently helping to lead a Veteran’s Day ceremony in Fort Collins.
Detachment 90 leadership added that the detachment strives to be a leader across the region. Over the past few months, this has included hosting more than 130 high school students from across the state in an innovative Junior ROTC engagement at CSU as well as organizing an Air Force ROTC physical competition with over 350 cadets from the University of Colorado and the University of Wyoming.