Air Force, University of Chicago celebrate AFROTC detachment activation

US Air Force | Oct. 16, 2023

By Staff Sgt. Crystal A. Jenkins

Cadets from Det 195, present the colors during an official activation ceremony of the detachment at the University of Chicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the United States Air Force and the University of Chicago, will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout the entirety of their training.
Cadets from Detachment 195 present the colors during an official activation ceremony of the detachment at the University of Chicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the United States Air Force and the University of Chicago will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout the entirety of their training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Crystal A. Jenkins)

CHICAGO, IL.: The U.S. Air Force and the University of Chicago officially activated Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 195 at the university during a ceremony on October 13.

The University of Chicago officials hosted the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Honorable Alex Wagner, other Department of the Air Force senior leaders and several community leaders from across Illinois as the university welcomed the newest addition to its Military Science Department.

“UChicago's transformative undergraduate education prepares students for high-impact careers across sectors, working on the issues that are most important to them and to society,” said Katherine Baicker, University of Chicago provost. “We are proud to support our veteran students and those aspiring to lead within the military and are thankful to the Air Force for the opportunity to help these students pursue their dreams of scholarship and service through ROTC.”

More than 50 cadets representing the detachment participated in the activation ceremony as Wagner and university officials took to the stage to officially signify the partnership between AFROTC and the University of Chicago, emphasizing the mutual benefits for both the educational institution and the U.S. Air Force. 

The Honorable Alex Wagner, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, addressed cadets and the audience during the official activation ceremony of AFROTC detachment 195 at the University of Chicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the United States Air Force and the University of Chicago, will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout the entirety of their training.
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Honorable Alex Wagner addresses cadets and the audience during the official activation ceremony of AFROTC Detachment 195 at the University of Chicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the Air Force and the University of Chicago will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout their training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Crystal A. Jenkins)
The Honorable Alex Wagner, Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command and other regional AETC leadership attend an official activation ceremony of detachment 195 at the University of Chicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the United States Air Force and the University of Chicago, will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout the entirety of their training.
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Honorable Alex Wagner, fourth from right, Lt. Gen. Brian S. Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, third from right, and other regional AETC leadership attend an official activation ceremony of Detachment 195 at the University of Chicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the Air Force and the University of Chicago will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout their training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Crystal A. Jenkins)
Katherine Baicker, Provost for the University of Chicago, speaks during the official activation ceremony of U.S. Air Force ROTC detachment 195 at the UChicago, Ill, Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the United States Air Force and the University of Chicago, will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout the entirety of their training.
Katherine Baicker, University of Chicago provost, speaks with guests during the official activation ceremony of U.S. Air Force ROTC detachment 195 at the University of Chicago, Ill., Oct. 13, 2023. The partnership between the Department of the Air Force and UChicago will provide students from more than a dozen area schools a centralized home throughout their training. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Crystal A. Jenkins)

 

“I’m thrilled to be in Hyde Park today to celebrate a new home for the cadets of Detachment 195 and recognize the commitment of the University of Chicago’s leadership to the program’s continued success,” Wagner said. “Partnerships like these are critical to developing the next generation of America’s Air Force and Space Force leaders, and the University of Chicago’s strong investment in the detachment helps the entire Chicagoland area better connect with and understand our nation’s military.” 

 

Additionally, Kevin Barszcz, the city of Chicago’s Veterans Affairs director, presented a proclamation on behalf of the mayor, declaring Oct. 13 as Air Force ROTC Day in the city. 

 

“Det. 195 seniors are graduating into a broad range of majors and will continue to hone their expertise in equally diverse and challenging career fields.” Wagner continued. “Their skills will allow them to operate the Air Force and Space Force’s cutting-edge platforms, but even more importantly, they will familiarize themselves with the rapidly evolving technology to help ensure military readiness that deters aggression and strengthens America’s abilities to win future conflicts.” 

 

The transfer of detachment, which was originally located at the Illinois Institute of Technology, was established in 1951 in Chicago and started the move to the University of Chicago in May of 2023. This detachment remains the only AFROTC program in the greater Chicago area. The university and detachment currently maintain 15 active enrollment agreements with cross-town universities. 

 

AFROTC is the largest and oldest source of commissioned officers for the DAF. It comprises 145 detachments, with more than 1,100 cross-town universities, four regional commands, and a higher headquarters staff, located at the Jeanne M. Holm Center for Officer Accessions and Citizen Development at Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. 

 

The ceremony concluded with a show of airpower with a flyover of a KC-135 Stratotanker from Grissom Joint Air Reserve Base, Indiana, to honor Detachment 195’s activation.