AFROTC cadets get real-world advice from visiting Colonel


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (February 18, 2014) – Tuskegee cadets learned about leadership and what it means to be an officer today during an informal lecture with a U.S. Air Force commander. Colonel Ronald E. Jolly is Deputy Commander for Maintenance, Ogden Air Logistics Complex at Hill Air Force Base in Utah. He visited Air Force ROTC Detachment 015 and shared his real-world perspective about serving in the modern military. 

Jolly speaks to cadets. 
“You’re a military professional,” Jolly told the group in Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Museum. “When you put on this uniform, you’re in the profession of arms--you’re in the brotherhood and sisterhood of the United States military.”

He said that being a part of the Air Force is a great tradition, but much is expected from its members. So, new officers need to embrace their role as leaders and commit to their professions. 

“Those airmen [you will command] want leadership. They deserve leadership,” he said. 

Jolly has spent 23 years in the Air Force and said he has experienced a number of leadership styles, good and bad. He said even a bad leader can be a learning experience and help shape a growing officer.

“Internalize and recognize that you can learn from bad leadership examples—you can always take something away from those situations,” he said. 

Jolly said today’s new officers face several more challenges than their predecessors. He said budget constraints, limited personnel, and uncertainty about the next war are difficult challenges this next generation of leaders will face when they enter the Air Force. He said it was important for a new officer to know their people and find out their commander’s expectations. But, learning what their job is and how to do it well was vital to an officer’s success. 

“You’re not contributing to the mission, if you don’t know what your job is,” Jolly said. “Once you graduate from here, the education does not stop.” 

Jolly is responsible for the cost, schedule and quality of depot repair, overhaul and modification of the A-10, C-130, F-16, F-22, F-35 and T-38 aircraft and the Minuteman intercontinental ballistic missile system. His decorations and awards include: the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Organizational Excellence Award. Lt Col Dex McCain, Commander of Detachment 015, said it was important to bring an officer like Jolly to Tuskegee. 

“Anytime I have chance to have an officer of this caliber with his leadership experience share their thoughts with cadets to let them know what the expectations of the Air Force are, I am going to jump at the chance to bring them here,” McCain said. “Col Jolly is the epitome of a great officer and a leader.”

Cadets pose with Jolly.

Cadets listen to Jolly.

Jolly and McCain.

© 2014 Tuskegee University

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