Artist’s rendering of WGS-11+



Chief of Space Operations Addresses University of Florida ROTC Units

  • Published
  • By Petty Officer 3rd Class Nikita Custer
  • Naval Service Training Command
The University of Florida Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps hosted a virtual speaking engagement with the first Chief of Space Operations, U.S. Space Force, Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on campus, March 23.

Dialing in from the Pentagon, Gen. Raymond virtually addressed more than 200 ROTC midshipmen and cadets from the Navy, Army and Air Force.

“I’m always excited to speak to our nation’s cadets and midshipmen, our military’s future,” said Raymond.

This was the first event in which the Chief of Space Operations directly engaged a multiservice audience of ROTC midshipmen and cadets who had the chance to ask questions and learn from a 4-star military service chief.

“It was a unique opportunity for the midshipmen and cadets to learn from a four-star flag officer, the leader of the newest branch of the U.S. military,” said U.S. Navy Capt. James Dunn, commanding officer of the University of Florida’s NROTC unit. “The diversity of the branches that attended reflects the mutually supportive structure of the military. Gaining perspectives outside the scope of your own personal duties is a tactical tool we use in our global mission. It provides insight into how our actions affect and are affected by our brothers and sisters in arms.”

The CSO discussed the history of national security in space, the recent establishment of the U.S. Space Force, the Department of Defense’s role in space, and the future role cadets and midshipmen could have in the Space Force.

“Some of you will have an opportunity in the Space Force,” said Raymond. “However, all of you have a role in our nation’s defense and future success.”

While the course of a military officer’s career can take innumerable paths, each will be influenced by the leaders who have served before them. Raymond began his career as an Air Force ROTC cadet who commissioned through the ROTC program at Clemson University in 1984.

Midshipman 1st Class Kyle Leonard, a coordinator for the event, said that knowing Raymond was a ROTC graduate was inspiring.

“The fact that he was commissioned through an ROTC program really communicates the extent of what we are all capable of achieving after graduation,” said Leonard. “The Space Force is such a new entity, and General Raymond will be noted in history for his role as its first chief.”

Raymond took the opportunity to emphasize the importance of space to all services. “Wherever your military career takes you, I’m certain you will need to know more about space-related capabilities,” he said. “The military will need you to think about how you can use space to make your organizations more lethal.”

Finally, Raymond encouraged the cadets and midshipmen to never miss an opportunity to lead, to always set the highest of standards for themselves and others, and most importantly, to be a good person.

The NROTC program develops midshipmen mentally, morally and physically, and imbues them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values. The program provides college graduates an opportunity to commission as naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the naval service and have potential for future development, so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.

The NROTC program, located at more than 160 colleges and universities, is overseen by Naval Service Training Command (NSTC).

For more information about NSTC, visit

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