OFFICER TRAINING IN TRANSITION: A PARTICIPANT-OBSERVER STUDY OF AN AIR FORCE ROTC SUMMER FIELD TRAINING UNIT.
NEW MEXICO UNIV ALBUQUERQUE DEPT OF SOCIOLOGY
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The study examines subcultural differences among flights of students in the first six-week Summer Field Training Unit held by the Air Force ROTC for students intending to enroll in a two-year Professional Officer Course. The investigator lived with one flight, observed training activities and conducted questionnaire surveys of the flights in the Unit. Flights differ in the images their members hold of Flight Tactical Officers, and in the conceptions their members have of qualities which ought to be cultivated as future Air Force officers. There is a spectrum of difference among flights in their conception of the value of high pressure and stress as a training method. The social isolation of flights from one another permits the development of specialized perspectives. Flights also differ in their social composition according to background experiences of their members--by previous military training, participation in athletics and membership in fraternities. Within each flight there is a differentiation of social roles between members who serve as task models and those who serve as spirit leaders. Not all members of flights exercise formal leadership responsibilities. These differences in background and social role are related to differences in the ratings given to students by Tactical Officers. While it appears that the professional staff of the Training Unit would expect a balanced range of qualities to be perceived in Flight Tactical Officers and a balanced range of qualities to be valued by the students, the division of students into flights appears to allow for a high degree of specialization in the perspectives they develop. Author
- Humanities and History