October 11, 2009

Watters Named Georgia Cadet of the Year

VALDOSTA -- The Air Force Association named Cadet Andrew Watters the 2009 Outstanding Air Force ROTC Cadet of the Year for the State of Georgia at a special banquet held Aug. 29 in Savannah.

Detachment 172 commander, Lt. Col. Alan Elledge, nominated the junior business management major for the prestigious award because of the cadet's integrity, leadership skills, community involvement, professionalism and determination in pursuit of military and academic excellence.

"Upon entering the AFROTC program, Cadet Watters hit the ground running," said Elledge, who has supervised the detachment since fall 2007. "Watters has proven himself an excellent leader who excels in any environment. There is no other cadet who is more deserving."

Ranked first among 98 cadets, Watters has served many leadership roles and is known to most as the "go to guy" for the toughest projects. His time outside the detachment is spent leading physical training and morale trips or volunteering with local groups including Second Harvest, the Humane Society and roadside cleanup -- all while maintaining a 3.73 GPA.

Watters' award makes five consecutive wins for a VSU-based cadet. Captain Tim Bazzle said seven of the last nine Georgia Cadet of the Year winners have walked the halls of VSU's Barrow Hall and each has possessed the skills and attributes necessary for lifelong success.

"Watters' award well deserved -- a culmination of years of hard work, as well as his advanced leadership skills, teamwork, physical fitness abilities, academic prowess and service to community organizations," Bazzle said. "He represents the best of what our detachment has to offer and will carry that banner throughout his Air Force career as a VSU AFROTC Det 172 alumni."

Described as meticulous and self-sacrificing, The Woodstock native's academic and military success are confirmed by his many awards, including the AFROTC Commander's Leadership Scholarship, the Military Order of the Purple Heart Award, the Order of Daedalions "Gator Flight" Outstanding Pilot Candidate and Detachment 172's Outstanding AS 300 Cadet of the Year, among others.

After his May 2010 graduation, the Sequoyah High School graduate will commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force and begin training to become a fighter pilot. Although his military career may be filled with excitement, Watters said he hopes his future includes flying commercial jets while settled down near the ocean with a family.

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