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Delaware Congressional delegation celebrates funding for ROTC pilots at HBCUs

The office of Sen. Chris Coons

Delaware’s Congressional delegation visited Dover last week to celebrate new funding to improve diversity in military leadership.


The FLIGHT Act passed earlier this year as part of the National Defense Reauthorization Act.  It looks to bring more resources to ROTC programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and other minority educational institutions.


Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester and Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons joined Delaware State University president Tony Allen at the Delaware Airpark along with a member of DSU’s ROTC program.


Coons says there were barriers to entry for students at Delaware State University wanting to become pilots in the Air Force.


“ROTC Cadets who want to become military pilots can significantly improve their career prospects with undergraduate pilot training, but not all of those costs are covered. Delaware State hosts this extensive aviation program, but it’s ROTC students have to pay for some costs out of pocket. This bill fixes both of those problems.”


Blunt-Rochester says the bill aims to help ROTC cadets at Historically Black College and Universities.


“And the goal of the bill was simple, let’s leverage the resources that we already have here in Delaware, and put them to better use. Rather than having students travel miles upon miles to a host school for ROTC training, why not use the world class Dover Air Force Base which is right down the road.”


On top of opening up partnerships between ROTC programs and nearby military bases, the bill also supplements flight training costs for ROTC members at HBCUs. 

Blunt-Rochester says there’s a need for greater representation in the military, especially among pilots.


According to Coons, while 20 percent of the Air Force is Black, only two percent of its pilots are. He says this bill will go a long way toward addressing that diversity gap.

Roman Battaglia grew up in Portland, Ore, and now reports for Delaware Public Media as a Report For America corps member. He focuses on politics, elections and legislation activity at the local, county and state levels.
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