MAXWELL AFB, Ala. -- For the son of a Layton man, summer vacation meant arising at 4 a.m. each day to start a rigorous, daily routine that most college students would cringe at the thought of having to do.
Taylor Amberson, son of David H. Amberson, of Layton, is an Air Force ROTC cadet that participated in field training, as well as a mock Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployment, mandatory for all individuals pursuing a commission as an officer through Air Force ROTC.
During this 28-day training, cadets are pushed to the limit through stressful and physical situations that evaluate their ability to become an officer and help develop their team building skills.
"I am learning about how to react under pressure and lead from the front," said Amberson, who graduated in 2006 from Northridge High School. "I am also learning how important attention to detail is."
Amberson is one of almost 2,400 cadets from colleges and universities nationwide that participated in one of six rotations at Maxwell AFB during the summer. The course were divided into three phases: The first 11 days are devoted to classroom work, drill, dorm maintenance, and time management.
They also were scheduled to participate in a leadership reaction, assault, and obstacle course; try to qualify on an M-9 pistol; and learn hand to hand combat with trained Air Force Combative instructors.
The cadets then were set to be airlifted by a C-130 aircraft to Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Miss., where they were to experience a mock deployment, simulating what it would be like in Iraq or Afghanistan. There, Amberson and the other cadets could conduct convoy missions, learn basic warfare tactics, shoot the M-16 assault rifle, and march over enemy terrain.
For Amberson, the transition from cadet to eventual commissioning as a second lieutenant will be a challenging one.
"This course is very demanding. For me, it has been hard to make the time limits," said Amberson. "Also it is difficult at times to keep the mouth closed and accept what my instructors say."
Upon returning to Maxwell, Amberson and the others were to put their newly learned marching skills into work and perform a graduation parade.
When they return to their colleges and universities in the fall, they will become leaders of their detachments, and bring them one step closer to an Air Force career.
"This course is helping me to develop professionalism, lead by example, and care for others," said Amberson. "I want to fly the A-10 Wart Hog. Beyond that, I'll do just about anything as long as I clearly see a purpose and benefit to our country."
Although Amberson and his fellow cadets didn't get much rest and relaxation during the summer, their futures appear to look a lot more brighter like the yellow bars they will be wearing upon their shoulders in a couple of years as second lieutenants in the Air Force.
Dona Fair is a Department of Defense civilian who contributes stories to the Joint Hometown News Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Defense's Defense media. The San Antonio, Texas-based operation produces "a variety of print and electronic news products highlighting the accomplishments, and worldwide activities of individual members of the Armed Forces.