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‘When am I Ever Going to Use This?’

Gavin Doering
Gavin Doering

Gavin Doering’s graduation speech topic is “When am I Ever Going to Use This?”

It’s a question every student has asked and Doering admits he has even asked that question a few times while pursuing a minor in aerospace studies. But overall, the Alcester native said the objectives were clear in his four years in the U.S. Air Force ROTC program—to create leaders for the USAF.

It appears the objectives have been met in Doering, who has been serving as cadet wing commander for the 40-cadet detachment this semester.

In summer 2019, he completed a 14-day leadership field training program at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, Alabama, and earned distinguished graduate honors for finishing in the top 10% of the 480 cadets enrolled.

In spring semester 2021, Doering and his staff of 10 to 15 fellow officers have completed an objective of leaving an organized trail for future cadet officers. Cadet officers rotate each semester and they have had to start from scratch in creating events and establishing operational orders, said Doering, a mathematics and data science major.

This semester, those directives as well as motivational memos were uploaded to Google Drive so future leaders “don’t have to recreate the wheel,” he said.

Doering has been involved in Air Force ROTC since graduating from Alcester-Hudson High School in 2017. He received an ROTC scholarship out of high school and comes from a military family. His father served six years in the Air Force. Both grandfathers were in the U.S. Navy and his great-grandfather was in the U.S. Army in World War II.

He said cadets are trained to become good followers before they have an opportunity to lead. Leadership roles are awarded to cadets in the second semester of their junior year.

Cadets are in charge of leading the 5:50 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday physical training sessions as well as military leadership training techniques such as small-unit tactics. While most cadets won’t be involved in small-unit tactics when serving in the Air Force, those maneuvers prove invaluable in teaching leadership among peers, Doering said.

He also has been involved in informal leadership, directing the Valor Bible study for cadets for three years. The group has grown from three to 15 and provided a chance to know cadets at a deeper level, he said.

Outside of ROTC, Doering has enjoyed chatting with friends at Cottonwood Coffee, playing intramural sports and getting an even better workout as a member of the practice team for the SDSU women’s basketball program.

After graduation, Doering will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and go to pilot training with the hope of flying C-17 transport planes.

He is the son of Brett and Shana Doering of Alcester.

Doering will speak at the 4 p.m. Sunday, May 9, ceremony for graduates of the colleges of the engineering and pharmacy and allied health professions.