How ROTC Cadets Do Summer
Summer is what you make it. Check out what BYU Air Force ROTC cadets are up to when school’s out:
Steven Richard Lau is living the high-life on the Hill. As a senior studying political science and Russian, working as a national defense and security intern for Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is a match made in heaven. “My duties mainly involve giving weekly tours of the Capitol, researching issues, and answering constituent correspondence,” Lau says. He was able to land this internship opportunity through the BYU Washington Seminar, a semester-long internship program open to all majors.
Already Lau has rubbed shoulders with some very important people. “I have personally met the new Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein, General Robin Rand of Global Strike Command, and General Tod Wolters of Air Force Europe,” Lau says. “I have also been in the galleries for both a House sit-in and a Senate filibuster—never thought I would be able to say that!”
Lau, a Nebraskan native, will report to flight school at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas, in June 2017. “My current goal is to make the Air Force my initial career and then move into politics afterwards,” Lau says. “Public service is a noble profession and I would love to be a more active force for the good of America.”
Kyle Reini and Samantha Baker helped Utah celebrate Independence Day by presenting the American flag at the Stadium of Fire in Provo. Reini and Baker are both members of the two divisions that make up the Air Force ROTC’s Honor Guard.
“It was an honor to hoist the flag in front of crowds of people,” Reini says. “As a Drill Team member, where we typically perform rifle routines, raising the colors was a neat experience to take part in because it was new and different.”
Baker, a member of the Color Guard, was accustomed to presenting colors at various events, but she agreed there was something particularly special about this experience.
“We were able to do it with members from various branches of the military,” Baker says. “These were people who did Honor Guard as their career, and being around them made the whole experience really meaningful.”
After graduation, Baker, a junior studying Spanish, plans to go into active duty Air Force for four years and do public affairs, afterward transitioning into the National Guard. Reini, a junior studying mechanical engineering, is also excited about his future career aspirations. “I have always wanted to be a pilot, but now I am also interested in possibly becoming a space officer or military chaplin,” Reini says.
Jason Draper has been getting ripped—but not just to impress the ladies. The cadet from Palm Bay, Florida, is training with members of the BYU Special Tactics team to prepare for the upcoming semester. “Special Tactics is an extracurricular course within the ROTC,” Draper says. “This upcoming school year, I will be in charge of training under the supervision of Major John Young.”
Special Tactics is physically taxing; it is a team building experience designed to push cadets to their limits. “An example of the strict physical training we do is wheelbarrowing with a partner up the staircase by the Richards Building for fifty minutes straight,” Draper says. “It is important that cadets remain in shape during the summer.” Right now, Draper and his team members train together once a week but are also expected to work out individually.
Once fall classes start, cadets in Special Tactics will train twice a week for two hours. “Last school year was a pilot semester,” Draper says. “This year we have a better idea of what we are doing and have more definitive training plans.”
After graduation, Draper would like to go into the field of combat rescue for five years and then transition into a career in computer engineering.
To learn more about BYU ROTC and its Air Force program, click here.