WSU grad receives Society of American Military Engineers award

Sixteen ROTC students receive nationwide merit award every year

Recent+Air+Force+ROTC+graduate+Austin+Corbin+discusses+his+motivations+for+joining+the+Air+Force+ROTC+program+during+a+May+8+interview+in+the+CUB.
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WSU grad receives Society of American Military Engineers award

Recent Air Force ROTC graduate Austin Corbin discusses his motivations for joining the Air Force ROTC program during a May 8 interview in the CUB.

Recent Air Force ROTC graduate Austin Corbin discusses his motivations for joining the Air Force ROTC program during a May 8 interview in the CUB.

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Recent Air Force ROTC graduate Austin Corbin discusses his motivations for joining the Air Force ROTC program during a May 8 interview in the CUB.

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

JACOB BERTRAM | THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Recent Air Force ROTC graduate Austin Corbin discusses his motivations for joining the Air Force ROTC program during a May 8 interview in the CUB.

GABRIEL BRAVO, Evergreen reporter

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A 2019 WSU graduate and second lieutenant in the Air Force received a Society of American Military Engineers Award of Merit.

Austin Corbin, a former Air Force ROTC cadet at WSU, is one of 16 recipients nationwide.

“I’m proud I got the award especially knowing there’s a ton of bright engineers in other universities,” Corbin said.

He said he credits this accomplishment to his hard work and dedication.

The SAME Award of Merit is given every year across the country to ROTC junior or senior engineering majors. The award’s recipients must be in the top 25 percent of their class.

Corbin graduated from the Voiland College of Engineering. He said his 4.0 GPA last semester earned him a spot on the list.

Brian Balazs, Air Force ROTC detachment commander at WSU, said the criteria for the award range from physical fitness, GPA and general leadership.

“Active duty individuals are tested annually,” Balazs said. “Here we do it once a semester. Push-ups, sit-ups, mile-and-a-half run and height and weight contribute to their physical fitness score.”

Air Force cadets had physical training Tuesday and Thursday mornings during the semester. Remedial training would be offered on Fridays for those who didn’t meet their physical expectations, Corbin said.

“In terms of my own physical fitness I would say the majority is outside of ROTC,” Corbin said. “I lift a lot. That’s my hobby. I max out on push-ups and sit-ups every single time but the only thing I don’t max is the run.”

Corbin said some of his fellow cadets run eight miles a day. Running’s not one of Corbin’s strong suits but acknowledges the importance of running and how it could benefit his Air Force career.

As an upper-classman Corbin worked his way to a leadership position in field training. Archibald Harner, Air Force ROTC operations commander, said Corbin proved to be dependable, trustworthy and reliable.

These characteristics earned him the responsibility of leading 70 cadets during field training, Harner said.

Corbin is the type of person people can count on to understand and complete an assignment, Harner said.

Corbin said the experience allowed him to see the impact he made on freshmen cadets.

“We train them to be prepared and gain their confidence,” Corbin said.

Corbin has seen timid and unorganized freshmen who may not know how to present themselves. He said with sufficient training and guidance, freshmen can become mature professionals.

“I’ll miss the comradery the most. You have a group of cadets going for the same goal,” Corbin said. “But once I’m in the Air Force I’ll be committed to something greater.”

Corbin will begin pilot training in Columbus, Mississippi, Sept. 30, in hopes of becoming a fighter pilot.