By Staff Sgt. Don Branum
Academy Public Affairs
A native of Aurora, Colo., and member of Cadet Squadron 30 won the inaugural 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte Cadet Character and Leadership Award during a ceremony held in the McDermott Library here May 25.
Then-Cadet 1st Class Mychol Alexander received the award for his role as cadet in charge of the 2010 National Character and Leadership Symposium.
As cadet in charge of NCLS, Cadet Alexander led planning and execution of the 17th-annual event, themed “Guardians of Trust: Leaders in the Modern Era,” which featured guest speakers such as Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Tommy Lasorda, Brian Billick, Roberts Ridge veteran and former Army Ranger Nate Self and other combat veterans. More than 2,000 Academy staff and 600 guests attended the event along with the Academy’s 4,400 cadets.
Cadet Alexander designed and led the first-ever NCLS recruiting night, according to his award nomination. As a result, 53 cadets volunteered to be a part of the NCLS cadet staff. The NCLS team was selected as a quarterly award winner for January to March 2010 and earned praise from Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould.
The award is named in honor of 1st Lt. Roslyn Schulte, a 2006 graduate of the Academy who was killed in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb May 20, 2009. Lieutenant Schulte embodied the Air Force core values – Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do – said retired Lt. Gen. Ervin Rokke, president of the USAFA Endowment, a 1962 graduate and former Dean of the Faculty here.
“Over the years, some of the words have changed in (the Academy’s) mission statement, but the central thrust has been constant since the Academy began in 1955,” General Rokke said. In Lieutenant Schulte, the Air Force had an officer who truly internalized the core values.
Col. Joseph Sanders III, the Center for Character Leadership and Development director and permanent professor, thanked members of Lieutenant Schulte’s family for attending the ceremony. At the event were Lieutenant Schulte’s parents, Bob and Susie Schulte, and her cousins, Neil, Sarah and Jessica Littman.
“Mr. and Mrs. Schulte, we’re so proud to have you here today,” Colonel Sanders said. “Thank you for allowing us to pay tribute to your daughter in such a special way, and thank you for allowing us to be part of her legacy.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Cadet Wing Honor Guard presented Mrs. Schulte with an American flag flown here May 20 on the one-year anniversary of Lieutenant Schulte’s death.
“Everything was just wonderful today,” Mrs. Schulte said. “It was wonderful to be part of the ceremony and the service. We thought they did a beautiful job.”
The Schulte family worked with the Academy to establish the award.
“We wanted to do something at the Academy that would honor and recognize the cadets who exemplify good character and strong leadership skills,” Mrs. Schulte said. “These are skills and qualities that were important to Roz. I think character’s a very important quality, and it’s sometimes assumed.”
Mr. Schulte said he was impressed with the caliber of nominees and with Cadet Alexander, who won the award.
“It was a pleasure to meet them and their families today, and we’re so proud of all the graduates here,” he said. “This is not an easy place to get through, and to get through with flying colors is wonderful.”
Mrs. Schulte added, “We are very, very proud of the group of candidates who were nominated and certainly with Mychol’s selection as the first recipient of the Lieutenant Roslyn Schulte Cadet Character and Leadership Award.”