Declaring War on Dorm Rats

  • Published
  • By Brig. Gen. Richard Devereaux
  • 82nd Training Wing commander
Hopefully the headline enticed you to read this. I want to tell you about a campaign we've initiated here at Sheppard to diminish the "dorm rat" culture. By "dorm rat culture," I'm talking about an environment that says it's OK for our Airmen to spend most of their weekend time hanging out in a dorm room, playing video games. 

Let me explain.

Our mission in the 82 TRW is to "Deliver technically superior, highly motivated Warrior Airmen." We produce "technically superior" technicians in our tech school classrooms and laboratories. 

But what about the "highly motivated Warrior Airmen"? That's the job of our military training leaders (MTL), instructors, and even support personnel. Their job is to develop Warrior Airmen who incorporate our values and consistently make responsible choices during their off-duty time. 

In order to foster a culture of responsible choices among our Airmen, we often focus on the negative. We work hard to catch our Airmen breaking the rules and then hold them accountable. We keep track of their alcohol-related-incident rates, DUIs, and other disciplinary indicators. We spend a lot of time doing this. 

>But in order to foster a culture of responsible choices, we need to do much more. We need to provide our Airmen with an environment rich with extracurricular and developmental activities, particularly on the weekends when our schoolhouses close down. We need to generate a climate that encourages Airmen to explore and develop themselves during their off-duty time, instead of becoming dorm rats. 

That's what our new program Warrior Weekend Challenge (WWC) is all about. 

WWC is a program of structured weekend activities designed to provide our nonprior-service trainees with a variety of physical, mental, and spiritual activities that will expand their horizons and develop their leadership, team-building, and expeditionary skills. 

The activities occur every weekend and are designed by our training squadrons, Services, Chapel Staff, Training Operations, and even include downtown cultural and volunteer activities. Examples include intramural sports, combat skills competitions, movies at the Solid Rock Café, Wichita Wildcats Hockey, golf lessons, and community service projects. 

All of our Airmen in Training have been issued "Flight Logs" where they record points earned for the events they participate in. Monthly competitions are being held for the units and individuals who accumulate the most WWC points.

I'm excited about the spirit of competition and involvement that WWC is already generating among our Airmen. I'm thankful for our WWC Director Lt. Col. Dave Saville, his Operations Officer, Lt. Rob Smalley, and their support team from Services, TO, Chapel, the TRGs, and many other organizations across the base. Thank you all for giving your time to serve our Airmen. 

If WWC succeeds, it will not only help create a climate more conducive to "responsible choices" here at Sheppard, but will also help train thousands of Airmen that the best way to spend their weekends is not in their dorm rooms, but out with their peers volunteering, competing, developing themselves, and serving one another. That's what we should be about as Airmen. And that's what Warrior Weekend Challenge is all about.

Thanks for your support of this program Team Sheppard. I've If you have an idea for future events, please contact Lt. Col. Dave Saville, 82 TRG/CD.