Col. Paul Judge, commander of the Air Force ROTC unit at Loyola Marymount University, has seen a lot of things since his days as a cadet at the University of Miami.
Col. Judge has spent 27 years with the United States Air Force. He served as a squadron commander for pilot training, flew in Desert Storm in 1991, and was a group commander for contingency response at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California.
In 2009, he was assigned to the AFROTC Detachment 40 post at LMU, where he oversees the training of 90 students. Col. Judge is retiring April 14, to take a job with a civilian defense contractor.
Q: What was the most rewarding aspect of your time at LMU?
A: I think it was having an influence on the next generation of officers and leaders. That may sound corny, but it’s true: I like sharing my military experience with younger people and hope I can inspire them.
Q: What do you think of the cadet corps?
A: They are energetic, bright and committed. Only 15 percent of our cadets come from LMU; the rest come from universities around the region. I think that’s one misconception the rest of the student body has about our cadets. Students see the cadets training on Fridays, but they most likely don’t know that these are kids who have come some distance to be a part of this program. Another misconception is that a student would have to make a commitment to the military if they are part of ROTC; that’s not so. Many of our cadets do go on to military careers, but even more take what they’ve learned here to other professions.
Q: What was your biggest challenge as commander of this ROTC unit?
A: I think that would be getting medical clearances for all the cadets. We comply with the federal screening program, and between all the appointments and all the paperwork, it takes some time to have cadets cleared. They’re participating in the program while that process happens; in fact, it’s very disappointing to have a kid work for months with us only have them rejected for medical reasons. Still, the students get a lot out of the program, even if they’re only with us for a while.
Q: Do you have any lasting impressions of LMU?
A: I will remember how beautiful the campus is. I also was impressed by how the university’s value system is very similar to the Air Force’s value system. I hope that many more LMU students find a way to serve their country before entering a private career.
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