Celebrations set for 75 years of Air Force ROTC

East Carolina University is celebrating 75 years of Air Force ROTC’s presence on campus, highlighted by an anniversary ball on Sept. 22. There also will be an exhibition displayed on the first floor of the ECU main campus library for the fall semester, titled “75 Years of Detachment 600: East Carolina’s Air Force ROTC.”

East Carolina University Air Force ROTC cadets raise the American flag.

East Carolina University Air Force ROTC cadets raise the American flag. (Photographs digitized by ECU Libraries Special Collections)

A panel discussion as part of the exhibit is scheduled for Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in the Janice Hardison Faulkner Gallery on the second floor of the library.

About the ball

When: Friday, Sept. 22 – Social hour 5 p.m. Ceremony begins at 6 p.m.

Where: Greenville Convention Center

Ticket link: https://www.piratealumni.com/s/722/19/interior.aspx?sid=722&gid=1&pgid=4378&cid=12565&ecid=12565

What to expect: Hear from keynote speaker retired Gen. Gary North, who in 2014 was recognized by ECU as a distinguished military service society inductee. He also was graduation speaker for the 2009 commencement. North was commissioned in 1976 as a distinguished graduate from ECU’s Air Force ROTC program and attained the rank of four-star general during his military service.

There will be other remarks and highlights for the 75th anniversary celebration of AFROTC Detachment 600 East Carolina Flying Pirates.

“The detachment opened its doors in 1948 and is currently the second-largest detachment in the state of North Carolina,” Maj. Larae A. Johnson said.It has graduated four general officers, commissioned more than 1,200 officers into the Air Force and Space Force, with a wide range of Pirates serving across the globe. Detachment 600 was also one of the first to integrate female cadets into its program. In 1969, Martha Van Hoy became the first female cadet at Detachment 600, and in 1974, Mary Kathleen Langan was the detachment’s first female line officer commissioned.

“This military ball will celebrate 75 years of commitment to providing some of the finest officers in the Air Force, and now the Space Force as well. The event is an opportunity to bring cadets, alumni and current and past instructors together who all serve as a major part of the Pirate family. The event will begin with a social hour offering a chance to mingle and connect. The evening will consist of a look back into the detachment’s achievements over the last 75 years and a keynote speech from Gen. Gary North, who stands as the highest-ranking officer from Detachment 600 as a four-star general. We are excited to have Flying Pirates, from near and far, gather in celebration of this momentous occasion.”

ECU Air Force ROTC members on an aircraft in 1971.

ECU Air Force ROTC members on an aircraft in 1971.

An ECU Air Force ROTC cadet does a pull-up during the spring of 1997.

An ECU Air Force ROTC cadet does a pull-up.