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Air Force ROTC

Det 270 History

In accordance with US War Department General Order 124, (pg 2) (pg 3) issued December 1946, the Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science was directed to establish a "senior division air ROTC unit" effective the 1946-47 school year. Initially established as Detachment 13, K-State's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFROTC) unit was renumbered Detachment 270 in the late 1940s after the establishment of the US Air Force on 18 September 1947.

During the first few years and for much of the 1950s K-State's Army and Air Force ROTC programs were closely entwined; upon graduation cadets could choose which branch of service to enter. The AFROTC curriculum included physical geography and aircraft identification; cadets were expected to know all Air Force aircraft by their silhouettes. Further, cadets were enrolled in either air engineering maintenance or air force administration (which at the time was modeled on the Army).

On 16 July 1952, per Air University General Order 51, (pg 2), (pg 3), Headquarters AFROTC was established at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. Two weeks later on 1 August, Detachment 270 at the Kansas State College of Agriculture in Manhattan, KS was officially designated and reorganized under the new headquarters. That same year an Arnold Air Society (AAS) unit was formed at K-State and within two years had over 100 members. In 1956, an Angel Flight (now called Silver Wings) was also created. As of 2009, the AAS Vorhies Squadron assigned to Det 270/K-State was operational and active; Silver Wings is not.

By the 1960s Det 270 was an established program and throughout the decade was running on all cylinders. In 1961, an official memorandum of agreement was concluded between Det 270 and the host institution, Kansas State University (then called Kansas State University of Agriculture and Applied Science), to formalize support and services. The program experienced strong growth during this period, earned the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, and became optional for college/university males.

Det 270 remained a strong and respected program during the 1970s despite the unpopularity of the Vietnam War. Although ROTC was an option, cadet enrollment remained high during the first half of the decade and saw women enter the Cadet Wing during the last half.

The 1980s was much like final years of the 70s; Det 270 remained active and healthy and commissioned approximately 15 officers each year. The AAS cadets were instrumental in the construction and dedication of K-State's Vietnam Veterans Memorial and career opportunities within the USAF expanded with the service's growth of the Regan era.

While Det 270 maintained an excellent training program throughout the 1990s it did experience the effect of the Cold War dividend…reduced enrollment and commissioning. Still, during the 90s the detachment earned three Air Force Organizational Excellence Awards, commissioned 101 officers, produced a Cadet of the Year and an AFROTC Commandant of Cadets and Instructor of the Year, and was recognized twice as being among the Top 10 detachments in the nation. Also during this time Det 270 established Crosstown Agreements with two non-host institutions, Washburn University and Manhattan Christian College.

In the new millennia's first 10 years Det 270 continued its tradition of maintaining a high quality program that produced excellent officers. It increased joint training events with the Army ROTC Battalion and added emphasis to local community service projects. Cadre enabled cadet enrollment/participation from the KSU Salina campus and by decades end had commissioned 127 new 2Lt’s. Additionally, the Military Science building was renamed General Richard B. Myers Hall after one of Det 270's distinguished alums.