By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

By the students, for the students of Central Washington University

The Observer

News: Central ROTC cadet one of 50 in the nation selected for NATO training program

BY KRISTI YOUNG, Staff Reporter

His dream became a reality as Alex Lauer, a senior in aviation management,  was selected as one of 50 ROTC cadets in the nation to join the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program at Sheppard Air Force Base.

The Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training program (ENJJPT) is highly selective and takes only the best candidates across NATO contract countries. In the United States only the top 50 cadets are selected.

In order for a cadet to be considered for selection, they must be in the top percentiles of a variety of categories that include: cumulative grade-point average, standardized testing scores (ACT, SAT, etc.), Air Force physical fitness test, pilot candidate selection method, and field training. Candidates are also expected to be at the top of their detachment ranks.

Lauer, the current Cadet Wing Commander for the Air Force ROTC Detachment 895, was initially selected as one of 500 cadets across the nation to receive pilot training.

While applying for the competitive pilot training position, Lauer volunteered for ENJJTP selection and was chosen for the program early this school year after being ranked as one of the nation’s top cadets.

Graduates from ENJJTP will all go on to become either a fighter pilot or a bomber pilot, positions that are highly competitive in the active duty Air Force.

“It’s the elite,” Cadet Commander Lt. Col. Jason Densley said.

The process is competitive, but Lauer impressed Densley from day one as a sophomore in 2011.

Lauer continued to impress when he went above and beyond the detachment’s expectations for its cadets by being a resident advisor in the dorms for the last three years.

“He’s somebody that I can show the rest of the cadet wing what we’re looking for,” Densley said.

Being articulate, professional, having strong command presence, and taking the opportunities to lead his peers have contributed to Lauer’s role as the cadet wing commander, in Densley’s opinion. The sentiment is echoed by Cadet Lt. Col. Rebecca Wadey, a senior at Central and cadet executive officer.

“He has a strong command presence, he has a huge amount of drive, a huge work ethic, and he has integrity,” Wadey said.

Selection into ENJJTP is reserved for the cream of the crop, according to Densley, and Central has now witnessed two of its students selected for the program in the last ten years.

Justin Burrier, a graduate of the ROTC program and Central, was selected for ENJJTP last year and is currently waiting to begin the program at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas.

The program lasts about 58 weeks and is split into three separate phases. Phase One involves no flying and focuses on academics, learning weather patterns, command air craft systems and aviation physiology.

Phase Two is the first time the ENJJPT selects begin flying. These 26 weeks are spent in a single-prop airplane called the T-6 Texan II as the pilots learn basic maneuvers, aerobatics, and everything an Air Force pilot will need to know.

The final 26 weeks of Phase Three mirror Phase Two with the exception that pilots are now flying T-38 Talon jet planes. Not only is the selection process rigorous, but the program itself is difficult.

“Every week is like finals week there,” Lauer said.

Despite the formidable appearance of the process, Jonathan Belveal, a Cadet 2nd Lt. and junior at Central, agrees that the opportunity is outstanding. He is excited for Lauer, who has mentored him throughout the three years they’ve worked together.

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