Fairmont State University welcomes cadets to Air Force JROTC program

Education

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont State University has welcomed its class of 2021 U.S. Air Force JROTC cadets.  

The cadets will spend eight weeks learning every aspect of airplanes and flying.  

Fairmont State University Aviation Center

“Being condensed, it’s more like a military program. We call it immersion,” Joel Kirk, chief pilot said. “There’s a lot of benefits to that, in that, they fly every single day. Obviously, that we have the weather, sometimes twice a day, and there’s no distractions outside of that program.  Whereas, a typical college student has to compete with the rest of their college curriculum, jobs, family, holidays, all those things get in the way.  Whereas, this program is so condensed that they’re really focused on that flight.”

More than 2,000 high school seniors apply for the program, and only 400 are selected. Ten of those cadets are training at the Fairmont State Aviation Center.  

Student pilot prepping for flight at Fairmont State University Aviation Center

The goal of the program is to prepare them for future military and flight careers.

Lee McDonald is a JROTC Cadet. He applied to be in the program three times and was finally accepted this year.  

“Things have just finally come together,” McDonald said.  “It’s totally a privilege and honor to be here. Very, very highly selective, and everyone here is definitely showing that level of selection.  And, I don’t think at any other time in history, young kids, teenagers, can go through a program like this and get our wings.  And, I’m here today. I’m so glad to have this, like, environment, like, with all the military members, and I want to be an Air Force pilot, so having everyone here is super fantastic.”

Student pilot taking flight at Fairmont State University Aviation Center

This is the first year Fairmont State University has hosted the Air Force JROTC program.

To learn more about the Fairmont State aviation program, click here.

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