University Relations // Warren Peper // 01.04.2017
We’ve all no doubt heard of Navy Seals, Army Rangers and Delta Force. Did you know the Air Force has a Special Operations Unit that works side-by-side with these other highly trained tactical squads?
One of Charleston Southern University’s own ROTC students will attempt to become an Air Liaison Officer (ALO).
Daniel Walker, 27, has served over six years active duty in the Air Force. He’s now a full-time student at Charleston Southern, a junior majoring in history.
Walker found CSU online last year while stationed at an air base in Germany. He was intrigued by the school’s two-year program. Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Detachment 772 at CSU specializes in providing officer training to prepare students to be an Air Force Officer.
After making one call, Walker was told he could enroll and showed up in Charleston in July with just a suitcase and started classes the next month. He wasted no time. Taking 19 credit hours apparently didn’t keep him busy enough, so he started researching the ALO program.
“Cadet Walker is an excellent candidate for this program because he is committed and enthusiastic about the opportunity,” said Lt. Col. Alexandria Watson, CSU’s ROTC commander. “He’s demonstrated leadership and followership abilities, academic success and intense physical fitness.”
Walker will spend a week in Camp Bulls, Texas, in early January undergoing ALO Aptitude Assessment. He joins 140 other candidates; 40 will be selected. The Air Force puts the candidates through intense physical, mental and technical training.
The week-long training is highly competitive and stressful, but Walker remains undaunted. “Right now, I’m the best I’ll ever be,” says Walker.
If Walker is selected, he will not advance to the next stage until he graduates. The other candidates are from other ROTC programs, the Air Force Academy and the enlisted ranks. Is he concerned his age works against him? Just the opposite: “I think my wisdom helps after more than six years of active duty and now a college education.”
If he’s not selected? Walker says, “I’ll humbly accept whatever the Air Force asks of me.”
From a distance, Walker looks like any other student walking around the Reflection Pond on his way to class. Every time a jet or a C-17 flies over campus, though, from nearby Joint Base Charleston, this one-day officer smiles and looks forward to the moment he can further serve his country.
Founded in 1964, Charleston Southern University is a private, four-year liberal arts college. CSU is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. The university's vision is to be a Christian university nationally recognized for integrating faith in learning, leading and serving.