Fairmont State will honor its inaugural cohort of U.S. Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps cadets at a graduation ceremony to mark the completion of their training at the University on Friday, July 30 at 3 p.m. at the Fairmont State Aviation Hangar in Bridgeport.
The Fairmont State University Aviation Center of Excellence welcomed the first class of cadets in June to the Summer 2021 U.S. AFJROTC Flight Academy, a program offered by only 25 universities across the country through a partnership with the U.S. Air Force.
Of more than 2,000 applicants, the 400 cadets who were chosen for the program represent a select group of incoming high school seniors who meet the rigorous standards of all U.S Air Force Academy candidates. Nine of those 400 airmen in training have completed the program at Fairmont State, residing on the University’s campus for the past eight weeks while learning objectives to prepare them for future military and flight careers.
“The majority of our staff at the Aviation Center of Excellence are former or current military flight instructors, and therefore, have a first-hand understanding of the needs of our cadets and how we can best position their training to meet their goals,” said Chief Pilot and Fairmont State Aviation Center of Excellence Director, Joel Kirk. “Every one of these cadets is so sharp, and you can really see their promise. We are thrilled to honor their accomplishments as they complete the first step in their training.”
Brigadier General Christopher S. Walker will present the ceremony keynote address to the graduating cadets and special guests, including Fairmont native, Senior Master Sergeant David McRobie and family.
Earlier this year, McRobie donated his personal aircraft to the University, expanding the Aviation Center of Excellence’s fleet from five to six operating air crafts and ultimately creating opportunities for students for years to come, including the United States Air Force JRTOC Summer Flight Academy.
“At Fairmont State University we strive to provide unmatched experiential learning opportunities through our one-of-a-kind offerings, including our Aviation Center of Excellence,” said Fairmont State University President, Mirta M. Martin. “We are incredibly grateful to offer flight training to this group of exceptional young pilots, in partnership with the United States Air Force. We look forward to celebrating this momentous occasion and the accomplishments of our inaugural Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps Flight Academy.”
The graduation ceremony will be available for viewing in real-time for those unable to attend at www.fairmontstate.edu/AFJROTCgraduation.
Brigadier General Christopher S. Walker
Brig. Gen. Christopher Walker is the Assistant Adjutant General and Commander of the West Virginia Air National Guard. The West Virginia Air National Guard has over 2,100 members and consists of two flying units— the 130th Airlift Wing in Charleston, WV, and the 167th Airlift Wing in Martinsburg, WV. As the Assistant Adjutant General-Air and Commander, he provides command and control over all Air National Guard forces assigned to the state and is the principal advisor to the Adjutant General on all matters related to the Air National Guard (ANG).
Born in New York City, NY, General Walker began his Air Force career as a 1988 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. After Undergraduate Navigator Training at Mather
AFB in 1989, he served as a C-130 navigator in weather reconnaissance and tactical airlift squadrons throughout the world, including an assignment as an airdrop planner in the
Balkans CAOC in Vicenza, Italy and flying in various contingencies including Operations Provide Promise, Provide Comfort, and Provide Relief.
In 1997, General Walker left active duty to join the ANG and serve as a C-130H3 evaluator navigator, and has commanded at the squadron and group level. He served in various operations and contingencies such at OEF, OIF, Joint Guard/Joint Forge, and Volant Oak/Coronet Oak. He has served as a special assistant to the Director of Mobility Forces (DIRMOBFOR) at the 609th CAOC at Al Udied AB, Qatar, and he also served as civil aviation advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation with the Coalition Provisional Authority. He has served as the ANG Crisis Action Team Director, Acting Air Mobility Division Chief at the 609th CAOC, and ANG Deputy Director of Air, Space, and Information Operations. General Walker has also served as DIRMOBFOR in two major JCS-directed exercises in Korea. In 2019, he served as Dual-Status Commander of Joint Task Force- World Scout Jamboree (JTF-WSJ), commanding approximately 1000 soldiers, airmen, sailors, and DoD civilians providing security, logistics, and medical assistance to over 45,000 scouts and support staff from over 150 countries.
General Walker is a Master Navigator with over 5200 hours in WC-130 and C-130E/H/H3 aircraft, including over 400 combat and combat support hours.