Space Force General David Thompson visits N.C. A&T

Courtesy+of+Jamille+Whitlow

Courtesy of Jamille Whitlow

Ameer Robertson, TheYard Reporter

N.C. A&T ROTC program students had the opportunity to meet with a leading officer in the United States Space Force. 

General David Thompson, Vice Chief of Space Operations, United States Space Force, visited Detachment 605, an Air Force ROTC stationed on N.C. A&T’s campus on Thursday, Oct. 15th.

Detachment 605 was established on the campus of N.C. A&T in 1951 and it currently has 90 cadets. 

Before the event, seven seniors in Detachment 605 had lunch with General Thompson. The seniors had the opportunity to personally talk to the general and ask questions about his expertise.

Kiara Bennett, a senior mechanical engineering student and Inspector General, was one of the students at that lunch.

“We had lunch with him, and it was really nice to talk to him in a casual environment,” said Bennett. “Seeing how interested he is about not only learning about our program, but our school as a whole, was very interesting and humbling to see.” 

According to the United Space Force, General Thompson is responsible for assisting the Chief of Space Operations in organizing, training and equipping space forces in the United States and overseas, integrating space policy and guidance and coordinating space-related activities for the U.S. Space Force and Department of the Air Force.

General Thompson spoke to students in person and via Zoom to comply with social distancing regulations.

General Thompson’s presentation during Thursday’s event started with a recruiting video for the Space Force. Following the recruitment video, there was a summary of the importance of air power and how aircrafts were developed and improved and how space is following a relatively similar path, but slower.

“First one to space in the late 1950s, and very quickly the United States Air Force was developing, launching and flying in space Military space Systems for the purposes of observing our advoceries,” said Thompson.

The conversation continued with discussing Desert Storm and how the weapons used were precision guided, but they were not used from space yet. 

In 2017, there was a B2 strike on terrorist training camps located in Lebanon and the Air Force was able to have a successful mission because of precision navigation provided by space. During the mission there were constant updates on the targets. Due to the satellites in space, the camps’ locations continued to update, so they were able to hit all of their targets.

The last topic discussed was the possibility of the first war in space. He said that a war in space may occur because an enemy may attempt to attack the United States satellites, air crafts, or the United States ability to use them.

“It will be the job of the U.S Space Force to ensure that [a space war] does not occur […] that is why we have come to this point today, and frankly that is why I am no longer an American Airman,” said General Thompson.

After this presentation, the cadets were permitted to ask questions. The cadets in the same room as General Thompson were given the privilege to ask the first few questions.

A student asked what were the official steps to transition from the Air Force to Space Force.

General Thompson expressed that starting with the junior class of the ROTC classes, if they want to join the Space Force they have to let their leadership in ROTC know and pick the right career fields and schedule an interview with them, and pass a screening test.

After the event, Kailyn Smith, a senior information technology student, whose position this semester in the ROTC Air Force is Mission Support Group Commander, was able to speak on how she felt about the event.

“The event was very insightful, it was an experience like no other, I am very grateful, said Smith. 

“The Space Force is a wonderful experience and a once in a lifetime deal to work with them and partner up with them, I have nothing but high regards for them and what they are doing, it is a lot more tactical than I thought it was.”

To find more information about Air Force ROTC on N.C. A&T’s campus visit their youtube or N.C. A&T’s website.