During the summer between their sophomore and junior years, cadets attend field training, a 22-day program at Maxwell AFB, AL. It is intended to give cadets an opportunity to be tested on their leadership skills and ability to work within a team. Some aspects of the program include physical training, weapons familiarization, survival training, and drill and ceremonies. Completing field training is a prerequisite for entry into the Professional Officer Course, and the ranking that a cadet receives at field training is one of the factors that influences their consideration for the Air Force job of their choice.
Field training is currently undergoing a number of changes in parallel with other Air Force training operations, the goal being to better prepare personnel for the changing missions of the Air Force with its involvement in the fighagainst terrorism. Nine days of the cadet's time at field training will be spent in the dormitories, while the remainder is actual fieldwork involving simulated combat operations.
Cadets completing their second year in the AFROTC program are not guaranteed acceptance to field training. The commander of each detachment will review the records of those cadets who are eligible to attend field training and select those whom he deems fully prepared. These names are then submitted to headquarters, which will make the final decision and issue assignments. Six separate sessions of field training are offered, at different times throughout the summer, in order to accommodate the different class schedules of the universities involved. It is possible for cadets to request a certain session if a major event makes it necessary for them to do so, but the final assignment is entirely at the discretion of AFROTC and is not required to take their wishes into account.
At field training, cadets are divided into flights, with each flight generally containing somewhere between twenty-five and thirty cadets. The position of flight commander rotates at intervals between cadets in the flight, and the flight is supervised by a Flight Training Officer (FTO), an officer selected from a pool of detachment cadre members, and a Cadet Training Assistant (CTA), a senior cadet who volunteered to return to field training as a supervisor. Each cadet is required to hold at least one leadership position during the program; those available include group and squadron commanders, drill and ceremonies officers, physical fitness officers, and education officers.