Air Force ROTC
Air Force ROTC
Air Force ROTC Detachment 538
17 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, NY 14623
What is Air Force ROTC?
We offer a challenging in-college program to develop quality leaders for the Department of the Air Force with graduates. While commissioning as Second Lieutenants and, serving in a variety of career fields, the Air Force and Space Force have to offer including Aviation, Cyberspace Operations, Space Operations, Developmental Engineering, Intelligence, Special Operations, Medical, and over 100 more.
AFROTC cadets prepare to become officers while completing traditional degree requirements. You will improve your leadership, time-management skills, analytical skills, and physical fitness. Requirements include Leadership Laboratory, Physical Training, and Aerospace Studies Classes.
Air Force ROTC Detachment 538 at RIT has been named the “Right of Line Medium-Size Detachment of the Year” for Academic Year 2021.
This highly competitive award is the pinnacle recognition granted to an AFROTC detachment. The award considers mission accomplishment, education and training, recruiting and retention, university and public relations, and cadet accomplishments.
Detachment 538's history begins in 1981 when it was first proposed with the help of Colonel Andrew J. Dougherty as AFROTC Operating Location 535B. Colonel Dougherty was the Executive Assistant to the President of Rochester Institute of Technology at the time, and in these early days, he was instrumental in pushing support for Air and Space power on campus. The detachment quickly began growing, gaining an Arnold Air Society Squadron in 1986, and soon Operating Location 535B became a full-fledged detachment, being renamed Detachment 538 in 1989.
The detachment saw continued growth, making a move from the Eastman Building to its current location in Lewis P Ross Hall in 2005. In 2010, Detachment 538 won the AFROTC Northeast Region High Flight Award for medium-size detachments and most recently in 2020. This award is given to the highest performing detachment in each region.
Detachment 538's Arnold Air Society squadron and Silver Wings chapter has been setting the example at the regional and national levels. Arnold Air Society has held Area Headquarters for the northeast region in 1989, 1994, 2004, 2006, 2012, and 2015. The squadron also served as the National Headquarters previously in 2014. Silver Wings, re-activated in 2013, has also seen a lot of recent success, serving as the National Headquarters in 2015, 2019 and 2021.
Today, Detachment 538 continues to strive for growth and excellence in everything that it does, commissioning some of the highest-caliber cadets in the nation. Each year, commissioners go on to serve as Pilots, Cyberspace Officers, Space Force Officers, Civil Engineers, Intelligence Officers, Maintenance Officers, Missile Officers, Combat Systems Officers and much more.
Cadre and Staff
Lt Col Christopher Denzer
BS Aerospace Engineering - University of Maryland
MS Aerospace Engineering - North Carolina State University
Maj Zachary Deats
Operations Flight Commander
Commission: Officer Candidate School
AS Military Studies - Rochester Institute of Technology
BS Applied Arts & Science - Rochester Institute of Technology
1st Lt Alexander Stoenner
Recruiting Flight Commander
AS Aircraft Maintenance Technology - CCAF
BS Multidisciplinary Studies - Grantham University
MS Occupational Safety Management - Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
TSgt Ivan Cespedes
AS Applied Science, Human Resource Management - Community College of the Air Force
The Reserve Officer Training Corps program consists of two main phases that span a cadet's academic career. These phases are separated by Field Training, which occurs during the summer following a cadet's sophomore year. Each phase is also broken down by year level with specific required classes designed to teach and prepare cadets to become an Air Force or Space Force Officer. Cadets will receive a Minor in Military Studies and Leadership upon graduation.
Note that the above is just a guide for how the program could work out for you. There are options to complete the required material in both 3 years (by truncating the GMC sequence), or in 5 years (by expanding the POC sequence). For more information, visit afrotc.com.
AFROTC Typical Course Sequence
Field Training is a required training exercise taking place between a cadet’s sophomore (GMC) and junior (POC) years. It is required to enter the Professional Officer Course, and give the opportunity to develop skills as a leader and team member. The training includes physical conditioning, marksmanship training, survival training, Air Force specialty orientation, confidence courses, aircraft orientation, human relations, drill and ceremonies, leadership study, and group and expeditionary leadership activities.
Arnold Air Society
Arnold Air Society is a professional, honorary service organization advocating the support of aerospace power. It is a national organization of cadets, from various ROTC detachments. The squadron at Rochester Institute of Technology, founded in 1986, is named after Colonel Andrew J Dougherty who was instrumental in the creation of Detachment 538. This squadron has a great legacy, and continually looks to further it through exemplary community service, fundraising, and social events
Silver Wings is a national, professional organization dedicated to creating proactive, knowledgeable, and effective civic leaders through community service and education about national defense. It is made up largely of civilians interested in personal development, leadership, service, and support of our military personnel.
Color Guard is a special team that participates in events that represent that Detachment, the Air Force or the United States of America. Color Guard participants display flags and stand in between two guards with rifles while marching. They participate in parades, present colors at ceremonies and even perform POW/MIA tributes.
Scholarships are available to prospective high school seniors; those already enrolled in college, and enlisted Airmen. Please visit Scholarships for more information.
RIT Room and Board Grant
RIT offers a Room and Board Grant to all AFROTC High School Scholarship recipients.
High School Scholarships
All High School Scholarship recipients will receive a monthly living expense stipend and an annual book stipend.
Type 1 - Pays full (100 percent) college tuition and authorized fees at any public or private institution supported by an Air Force ROTC detachment.
Type 2 - Pays up to $18,000 per year in college tuition at any public or private institution with an Air Force ROTC detachment. Scholarship payment is further capped at up to $9,000 per semester or up to $6,000 per quarter.
Type 7 - Pays full (100 percent) college tuition and authorized fees (capped at the in-state tuition rate) at a public institution with an Air Force ROTC detachment. Students offered a Type 7 scholarship will be given the option to convert their scholarship to a three-year Type 2 scholarship that can be used at out-of-state or private schools. A three-year Type 2 scholarship will start during the sophomore year of school.
In College Scholarship Program (ICSP)
If you’re already in college, you can still experience the benefits of joining Air Force ROTC. In addition to detachment-specific scholarship opportunities, freshman and sophomore students may be eligible for the In-College Scholarship Program (ICSP). The program awards scholarships based on merit during two selection phases (fall and spring semesters).
Frequently Asked Questions
Call or e-mail to get in contact with a cadre member:
No, any major may participate in AFROTC. However, certain career fields (engineering, medical, weather, etc.) require a specialized technical degree to be eligible.
Cadets will be required to pass an Air Force Fitness Assessment prior to attending Field Training, or activating a scholarship. The fitness test consists of 1.5 mile run, 1 minute of Push-ups, and 1 minute of crunches.
- High School Scholarship Pays full (100 percent) college tuition and authorized fees at any public or private institution with an Air Force ROTC detachment.
- All High School Scholarship recipients will receive a monthly living expense stipend and an annual book stipend.
- Type 1 selectees receive full (100 percent) college tuition and authorized fees at any public or private institution supported by an Air Force ROTC detachment.
- Type 2 pays up to $18,000 per year in college tuition at any public or private institution with an Air Force ROTC detachment. Scholarship payment is further capped at up to $9,000 per semester or up to $6,000 per quarter.
- In College Scholarship Program (ICSP) If you’re already in college, you can still experience the benefits of joining Air Force ROTC. In addition to detachment-specific scholarship opportunities, freshman and sophomore students may be eligible for the In-College Scholarship Program (ICSP). The program awards scholarships based on merit during two selection phases (fall and spring semesters).
- RIT Room and Board Grant. RIT also offers a Room and Board Grant to all AFROTC High School Scholarship recipients.
No, scholarship students begin incurring a service commitment at the beginning of their second year. Non-scholarship students incur a service commitment upon completion of Field Training. Graduates will serve a 4-year Active Duty service commitment and a 4-year Inactive Reserve commitment. Certain career fields (pilot, navigator, legal etc.) may incur additional service commitments.
Students do not have to attend RIT to participate. Detachment 538 has agreements with 14 local colleges to support the success of the cadets. Cadets are not limited to these schools either, but would be required to commute to RIT for ROTC activities.
Air Force Recruiting
Air Force ROTC
Air Force Compliance
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