Fairmont State to honor second cohort of U.S. AFJROTC cadets at graduation ceremony

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Fairmont State University Aviation Center of Excellence will honor its second cohort of United States Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps cadets at a graduation ceremony to mark the completion of their training. The ceremony will take place on Friday, July 29 at 3 p.m. at the Fairmont State University Hangar B, Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center in Bridgeport.

The cohort, consisting of eight incoming high school seniors from across the United States, were welcomed to campus in early June for the Summer 2022 U.S. AFJROTC Flight Academy.

“We are thrilled to honor the achievements of these fine young men and women to mark the completion of their training at the Aviation Center of Excellence,” said Fairmont State University Chief Pilot and Director of the Aviation Center of Excellence, Joel Kirk. “We expect to see great things from these cadets and look forward to their continued success as our nation’s next generation of aviators.”

Kirk further explained the curriculum developed for the eight-week summer academy was tailored to prepare cadets for future military and flight careers.

“A large number 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 career goals.”

Fairmont State University launched its U.S. Air Force JROTC program in the summer of 2021. In October, the Fairmont State University Aviation Center of Excellence was recognized at the United States Air Force Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corps and Aviation Accreditation Board International Flight Academy Annual Review in Atlanta and was amongst four universities named notable programs.

Fairmont State is one of 25 universities throughout the nation that has partnered with the U.S. Air Force to provide opportunities to JROTC cadets, while also expediting flight training for future airmen. The selection process for the AFJROTC Summer Flight Academy is highly competitive, with all cadets meeting the components required of U.S. Air Force Academy candidates.

In addition to receiving recognition for completion of the Summer 2022 U.S. AFJROTC Flight Academy, several Fairmont State flight students will be presented with awards from the Mountaineer Heroes of Honor Foundation and the Don Judy Commercial Flight Scholarship programs. The graduation ceremony keynote address will be provided by Colonel Bryan Preece, Commander of the 130th Airwing.

Colonel Bryan Preece

Colonel Bryan Preece is the commander, 130th Airlift Wing, McLaughlin Air National Base, Charleston, West Virginia. As Wing Commander, he is responsible for formulation, developing and coordinating all policies, programs, and plans for over 1100 personnel and nine aircraft. He also serves as a C-130 Evaluator Pilot.

Colonel Preece enlisted the 130th Airlift Wing in 1993 as an air transportation specialist. While enlisted in Air Transportation, he was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was selected to represent the 130th Airlift Wing as a member of the Air Mobility Rodeo Team. In 1999, he commissioned as a Second Lieutenant upon completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from West Virginia State University. In addition to serving as Operations Group Commander, Colonel Preece has served as the Chief of Current Operations, Chief of Training, as well as Deputy Commander of the 130th Maintenance Group. Colonel Preece has deployed in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Freedom’s Sentinel, and Coronet Oak