MIT hosts Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 365, the “Doolittle Raiders.” The Detachment is named after General Jimmy Doolittle, an MIT alumnus who earned his Master of Science and Doctor of Aeronautical Engineering degrees in June of 1925. Doolittle also planned and led the daring bombing raid over Tokyo in 1942, with sixteen B-25 bombers launched from the USS Hornet.
Today our legacy of valor and service continues. Detachment 365 has grown over the last several years from a small unit of 18 students in 2014 to an enrollment today of 80 cadets from four universities (MIT, Harvard, Tufts, and Wellesley). Many of our cadets earn scholarships to help defray the cost of tuition. Indeed, for this academic year Air Force ROTC is expecting to provide close to $2M in tuition and fees to MIT alone. Approximately 45 of our cadets are MIT students with degrees in mechanical engineering, physics, aeronautics and astronautics, computer science, and everything in between. In addition to exceling in academics (combined they have an average 3.514 GPA!) our cadets are active across campus, often in leadership roles: on the football, field hockey, swim, crew, and cheerleading teams; as DJs at the campus radio station; singers in acapella groups; doing research at Lawrence Livermore Labs and Lincoln Labs; biking across the country; and teaching STEM to underprivileged youth around the globe. They do all this while proudly wearing the uniform, attending an additional 5-7 hours of military leadership activities per week, and maintaining physical fitness standards. (Their average score places them in the top 95th percentile in a test that includes a 1.5 mile run, 1 minute of sit-ups, 1 minute of push-ups, plus height/weight and abdominal circumference.)
The detachment also provides administrative support and oversight for roughly 40 active duty Air Force officers pursuing various advanced academic degrees at our four institutions. Suffice it to say, Detachment 365 remains a worthwhile endeavor for both our nation and our university. We thank all of OVC for their continued support to our students, personnel, and programs.
—Lt Col J. Marshall Preston